On 11/29/08 7:05 AM, Cait Smith from from 5-4 CAV wrote:
> We aren't special or brave...we are just doing what we believe
in. Thank you for the support though. All the love and prayers are welcome
> Could we get a picture of the fire fighters? I will hang it and
let the Soldiers see that the true American heroes from 9-11-01 are
thinking of us.
Well, you know I
had to fulfill that request... so on December 20, I went to Ladder 20,
but there were only 3 firefighters available, not enough to spell out
the whole message:
More letters to
deliver, more firehouses to visit, so on to Ladder 5 Engine 24... and
a message to all the troops...from Captain McNally and the firefighters
of Ladder 5, FDNY, New York, NY, USA
I was re-arranging them to make it easier to see the "5" on
their truck when of course the bell rang, and everyone broke and grabbed
their gear and piled into the truck, sirens blaring, lights flashing...
I have video too, but here's some pics... It's hard to make an appointment
with these guys...
Marine 1 is just over by the river- Here's a little map of where the
firehouses are (A is Ladder 20,
B is 5 & 24, and C is as close as I can get to the water to show
you Marine 1.)
If you zoom out three times you will see where the World Trade Center
is in relation to these firehouses.
Naturally, Marine 1 was on their way to something, but again, when they
heard it was for the Troops, saw your letters and pictures, they stopped
in their tracks and held up these signs.
What inspired these FDNY guys to start the Vanna White letter stuff?
The troops of course:
Captain Dennis M. Hansen and his group- Navy, Afghanistan
Captain Ted Sauter 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army, Kandahar,
Major Dave Dunphy, Baghdad, Iraq, U.S. Army
So I happily went back and emailed the troops with these messages, and
got back some more, which I brought back to the firehouses on Christmas
At Ladder 20- I always start at "home". It always starts
out serious and blue, but when they hear its from the troops...
Got these firefighters from Ladder 20 out of the kitchen on Christmas
Day with smiles for the troops
Then Ladder 5 Engine 24 saw pictures of the troops and read your
A week ago we hadn't seen pictures of Cait...
Turns out, this is Cait :)
Cait wrote back: "I am a Soldier turned fire fighter,
along with 6 of my guys. About a week ago now one of our buildings
where about 30 soldiers live caught on fire. Six were trapped upstairs
and we have a whole room full of ammo and other explosives in it.
While three ran to the rooftops to get out the ones that were caught,
three of us ran to get the ammo/explosives and to fight the fire
with the few extinguishers we have. Well, needless to say, we pulled
passed out Soldiers out of room, ran them through smoke filled buildings.
We pulled ammo, grenades, etc out and ran them through flames (dumbest
thing I've done in my life, but we had to get it out so it didn't
explode the whole compound).
We stopped the fire eventually. So now you can tell the fire
fighters when we come home, we are gonna take over their jobs, too!
Give them a break for a change. Just kidding. It was HOPEFULLY a
one time experience. I would rather run into a fire fight than run
into a building to fight a fire any day. Especially when we have
NO equipment except ACU's and boots. So HOOAH to firefighters. "
When Lt. Gargia of Ladder 5 read Cait's letter, he
recorded a special message for her (2.5 mg download).
My son Bacia got a little face time with our heroes.
Ladder 5, serving on Christmas Day, wishing those who serve on Christmas
Day "over there" a Merry Christmas. (and one of those
firefighters is named "Katz" just like me... celebrating
Hanuka in his firehouse and thinking of you)
At Marine 1, Captain Johnson reviews the pictures sent by the troops
Marine 1 firefighters reading troop letters
Marine 1 firefighter Gulmar Parga is still in Afghanistan, but headed
Gulmar's pictures from Afghanistan
Again, my son gets into the act. This firefighter gave Bacia some
of the attention he missed giving his own baby son on Christmas
Captain Johnson organizes a little re-decorating for the photo...
Marine 1 FDNY wishing the troops a Merry Christmas, while you serve,
"Dear Rachel and all FDNY firefighters, I read your
email and I appreciate everything you do. I am orignially a New
Yorker, and was in high school during 9-11. I been in the military
ever since the age of 17.
I agree with what you say about having a child and thinking about
where to be safe, whether you should leave the city or not. I can
honestly say that its people like you, both the FDNY and even you
Rachel, that make others feel safe.
I have a son, and I think about him everyday that I am here, but
I know he is in good hands, being taken care of. I think that the
FDNY are true heroes, everyday. They do more for people than I can
ever imagine doing. They dont have a set time of when they are going
out to help, they just know they can be called at anytime and they
respond. They do it for the stranger next to them. I thank you for
I would really like to place pictures up of the FDNY and you in
our office area. Its a good feeling to hear and see people from
my home state. I hope you all take care and I know it is hard to
write because life moves fast and even faster in NYC. Take care
of your little baby as well. And whenever I finish my tour here
in iraq, I can always stop through and personally thank you all.
And Marine 1 sends you a shout out Melissa! Merry Christmas 2008
everyone, Happy Hanuka and whatever else you celebrate, Best Wishes
for the New Year- especially to those who serve.