I just received this letter from former FDNY Lieutenant Charlie Hubbard, a friend of mine who worked with Lt. George Kreuscher, the subject of my previous blog. I hadn’t realized they worked together years ago. Charlie was set to retire from the FDNY on September 10, 2001 and was headed to Hawaii on 9/11. His plane lifted off moments before the first plane hit the towers. When Charlie got back to Manhattan three days later, his plane having been grounded in Ohio, he resumed command of his firehouse, where his successor and most of his comrades had been killed. You can read about this in Charlie’s blog, which is linked at the end of his letter, re-posted here. Charlie is now a yoga teacher, and just arrived in Singapore to continue his work.
I am settled in Singapore and very happy to be back here. I am quite relaxed here. There is something about this city that agrees with me.
When I read the name “George Kreuscher” a lot of memories came up. Before I was a Lieutenant, I was a firefighter in Ladder 4. Rescue 1 was in our Battalion. So I would get detailed to Rescue occasionally. I remember working with George on the “back step” of Rescue. He told me a story I never forgot.
I was a young firemen, George was a pretty senior guy at Rescue. George was talking casually at one point during the tour and mentioned how he made sure he always kissed his wife goodbye when he left because there was no certainty of his coming home.
When you were describing his writing as being without drama, I remembered that conversation. What he said, although deeply poignant, was said without drama or angst. It was just a fact of his life that he accepted. I never forgot it.
I never thought much about being injured or killed. When I was accepted for the job, I spent three days considering the danger. I decided it was a calculated risk worth taking, made a promise to be careful and never much thought about it again. I used to feel bad for fearful firefighters. I often thought they would have been better off doing something else. George’s [approach to life] was another thing I had not considered. He was totally cognizant of the danger, but was unafraid anyway, He accepted it. There is a level of depth to that consciousness I admire.
I just finished a blog post; you may be interested in it.