|Fitzgerald Peterson, formerly of East Carbon was one of over 55,000 fire fighters attending a ceremony which honored the fallen firefighters in New York City.|
"I needed to be there," said Carbon county's Fitzgerald Peterson, one of Utah fire fighters who participated in the ceremony in October that honored the fallen fire fighters from New York City.
Peterson grew up in East Carbon and graduated from East Carbon High School in 1984. He is the son of Jim and Betty Peterson of Price.
After military, he attended college in Salt Lake and had always dreamed of a job in public service. His education was in social work, but he fell into a position with the fire department and for the past 11 years has been a fire fighter with the Utah county fire department.
Although Peterson's search and rescue unit was sent back to New York in September of last year following the terrorist attacks he was in charge of a training program in Salt Lake City and had to stay in Utah with his new recruits.
"So this was my motivation to go.
"It was a healing process for me, and although it was expensive, I felt I needed to be there," says Peterson. Although the department gave him the time off, he had to fund the trip out of his own pocket.
Peterson was one of the 343 honor guards. That number represented the number of fire fighters killed. Among those honored were the 343 fire fighters killed in the World Trade Center attacks, nine paramedics and fire fighters killed in other incidents, three retirees who perished Sept. 11 and a member of the New York Fire Patrol.
|Firefighters from throughout the world gather just prior to the march through New York in a massive ceremony to honor the city's fallen firefighters.|
The following article is being reprinted with permission from Firehouse.com, Dave Iannone, publisher and appeared on their web page Oct. 12.
Thousands pay respect to the brave and fallen of FDNY
A driving rain fell on an especially somber day in Manhattan as an estimated 55,000 fire fighters from Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and around the world came to pay tribute to the fallen heroes of the Fire Department of the City of New York.
Madison Square Garden held FDNY members and the families of the 356 fallen fire fighters who were being honored. Outside, stretching from the Garden down Eighth Avenue fire fighters from around the world watched the indoor ceremony on giant video screens.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the opening remarks saying he was honored to take part in this ceremony not because of the deaths of the fire fighters but rather for what they did when they were alive. Their actions have forever rewritten the history of New York City he said.
"I wish we could turn the clock back and make it all go away," former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said in his remarks. "This is an act of heroism that will live forever. Our act of mourning will live until we die but this heroism will live for ever."
A procession of tens of thousands of fire fighters from around the world consumed at least twenty city blocks, led by 356 fire fighters, including some from as Japan, France and Australia, who each bore an American flag representing an FDNY member lost in the line of duty since October 2000.
|Bagpipe players prepare for the big march in New York City. Fitzgerald Peterson snapped this photo during the ceremony.|
The massive sea of blue, rain soaked, froze in silence as big screen monitors played a video of the national anthem, sung by Firefighter Vernon Cherry, among the Bravest lost Sept. 11 on Manhattan Box 8087. Firefighters from every state marched in groups, many led by honor guards and bag pipers. More than 700 firefighters came from Toronto alone, plus large groups of dozens and hundreds from many departments.
Inside Madison Square Garden, the arena was filled with family members and thousands of FDNY's firefighters. They watched, many teary-eyed, listening to stirring musical tributes and speeches talking of courage, valor and family from local politicians and fire service leaders.
IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said in remarks, "It is important that we glorify the memory of your loved ones, and the good deeds that they have done over their careers, and throughout their live. We must reflect on their lives, not on our loss. Remember that they loved their jobs, their profession, their union, above all else, except for you."
In fire stations throughout the city where Bravest were lost, plaques commemorating the heroes were placed simultaneously as the service began.
Banners with an artistic rendition of each firefighter hung from the rafters of the Garden over the crowd of some 25,000 family members, friends and FDNY Bravest.
For more than 45 minutes, those inside the arena and tens of thousands more watched silently as the names of all those lost were read, and their names and photos displayed against an American flag image.