Solemnity Rules At Blvd’s Co-naming
By Jason Banrey
Firefighters show off the sign that will name for the boulevard for Bravery, not Death.
Bagpipes and beating drums brought 65th Street and Queens Boulevard in Woodside to a solemn silence on Sept. 9. The “Boulevard of Death” turned silent.
Honoring the firefighters of Rescue 4 who lost their lives in the line of duty and on Sept. 11, 2001, local elected officials and community members gathered with the families of the fallen to enshrine the bustling thoroughfare as “The Boulevard of Bravery.”
Although the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks rehashed the devastation caused that day, some elected officials paused to ensure that the memory of each first responder will live on.
“In this community every year and every day we pursue to remember the people who perished,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) of those lost after responding to the Sept. 11 attacks. “Every day is a day of remembrance for us.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) hosted the co-naming after being asked by former Councilman Walter McCaffrey’s to see through the last piece of legislation he signed before leaving office.
“This is a time for great reflection and pride for the FDNY,” said Van Bramer. “We are grateful for their sacrifice and moved by the outpouring of emotion, not only in our city but in our nation.”
Although the unveiling of the boulevard’s bold name did not promise closure to the tragic events that occurred a decade earlier, it did offer the chance for a lasting memory for all in Rescue 4’s reach to carry on.
“It isn’t easy revisiting the memory of my husband each year,” said Rose Ellen Dowdell, the wife of Lieutenant Kevin Dowdell, a member of Rescue 4 who died on 9/11. “But this tribute does help the memory of him to live on.”
Some firefighters who served with their “fallen brothers” gave testimony of the daily sacrifices made by the FDNY.
From an early age, Joseph Gandiello, Captain of Rescue 4, recalls learning about sacrifice while growing up in the borough. Witnessing the bravery of many men and women, some of whom gave their lives in the Vietnam War, Gandiello stressed the importance of setting an example for the next generation of men and women who take the reins of the city’s first response efforts.
“It’s about teaching the kids to give back to this community,” Gandiello said. “On behalf of all officers and members past and present, and families of our fallen brothers, we are proud to have the street renamed Boulevard of Bravery in their honor.”
Firefighters memorialized in the ceremony included: Capt. Raymond Koehler, Capt. Brian Hickey, Lt. Thomas Dore, Lt. Kevin Dowdell, Lt. Thomas Williams, Peter McLaughlin, Harry Ford, Brian Fahey, Terrence Farrell, William Mahoney, Peter Nelson, Durrell Pearsall, Peter Brennan, Allan Tarasiewcz and Michael Cawley.
Reach Reporter Jason Banrey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128.