Ordinary Heroes of 9/11 By Lola Louise

By MediaMonkey

March 28, 2024

I’ve wanted to read this amazing book by Joseph Pfeifer ever since I saw a comment on a 9/11 YouTube documentary recommending it. Joseph was the chief of multiple battalions across New York City. He was heavily featured in the Naudet Brother’s documentary about the fire department. The documentary that started out just about FDNY and turned into something unexpected.

This book was a completely in depth look at the steps that unfolded on that tragic day in American history. I knew the timeline, I knew the documentary so it gave me a clear image when reading but the most important parts I feel were the enlightening stories about what inspired him to be a fire fighter and the stories about his brother, Kevin who sadly perished when the towers fell. There were many times I just wanted to bawl my eyes out at the friendship that was lost for everyone. It was nice to hear about the brotherhood that comes with FDNY and all the good time they all had together. They’d have many celebrations, many cooked meals, it was a big family and hearing how torn apart it become. It was haunting. One house, it nearly lost everyone. 12 men.

A mention I feel is necessary is Orio Palmer, this is a name people deserve to know. He was a marathon runner. He repaired an elevator in the south tower, went up to 78th floor, then went running in heavy gear to help get people evacuated from the highest floors. Sadly, he never made it out and still to this day, there’s no trace of him.

One thing that I found extremely interesting which I hadn’t hear before, even in the rabbit hole of theories online. The police looked after their own that day. They could see that the towers were unstable from a helicopter, they never relayed the message to fire fighters. That alone cost so many extra lives. People could have had extra time to evacuate the buildings. Some people got to the lobby and the south tower came down. They didn’t survive. An extra few minutes could have changed the narrative.

Another revelation, Joseph said near the end of his book that he thought by 2026, more first responders will have died from the conditions at ground zero than those who died in the towers. I decided to look up how many have sadly died since and last year, with over 340 deaths. I believe now around 347. It has overtaken his expectation. It was heartbreaking reading through all the names of people. Many I recognised from other documentaries. Makes you think hard about life and those who will sacrifice so much for strangers.

I would recommend the documentary first which is on YouTube and 2 hours long and then the book as it will give you some extra context. It was an amazing insight into all firefighters do. Much respect.

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