Originally published in The Times Herald-Record on Sunday, November 11, 2001

   Four weeks and countless memorials after the shock of Sept. 11, firefighters gathered again at St. Mary's Church in Washingtonville to remember another of the fallen, Lt. Glenn Perry.
   About a half hour before the service, hundreds of firefighters milled about the parking lot. Under a brilliant blue sky there was laughter, the buzz of chatter in the air. After so many sad days when the bagpipers' wail of "Amazing Grace" echoed from one end of the Mid-Hudson to the other, it seemed that maybe, just maybe, everyone had cried all their tears.
 Then the black limousine carrying the Perry family arrived.
   Silence snapped across the parking lot. Smiles disappeared. A sea of grim gray faces in dress blue uniforms took their place.
   From the limousine, among the Perry clan, a boy on the verge of manhood emerged, dressed in his dead father's uniform. Glenn Perry Jr. accompanied his mother and sisters up the steps of the church.
The sorrow struck again like a fist in the chest, just as it did at the first funeral a month before. Grown men wiped tears from their eyes. Young girls shook as they wept, clinging to each other, as another family faced its loss.
   After one funeral, FDNY firefighter Joe Prunty of Washingtonville was asked how many memorials he had attended. His life, he said, had become a blur. Work at Ground Zero searching for bodies among the rubble, come home and go to funerals.
   "How many? A half a dozen, seven, maybe," he said running his hand through his thick gray hair. "I don't know. I'm fried."

   Timothy O'Connor

© 2001 Orange County Publications, a division of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., all rights reserved.