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.
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
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."
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