The Guys (2002) Script

This morning early

I walked on

While my darling

Was in a dream

The last sweet days of summer bloomed

And dressed the trees

In green

Then soaring high in the gleaming sky

From far across the bay

Came a fearsome roar

From a distant shore

At the dawning of

The day

Forgive me, love

I'm going now

So very far away

When darkness falls

Only think me near

And do not be


[woman reading]


When I was a little girl in Oklahoma, I would wait every week for Newsweek and Life Magazine to plop into the mailbox.

What were they doing this week in New York City?

Going to plays written by Europeans?

Listening to jazz and string quartets.

[woman continues]

A prewar apartment on the Upper West Side-- rent-stabilized-- filled with music and books.

A husband who liked opera as much as football.

Two charming children in a good public school.

An interesting job.

Oh, yes, my career.

[woman continues]

I was a brave, foolish 25-year-old girl.

Yes, girl, though I would have fought that word at the time.

I saw bodies, talked to refugees, dodged bombs.

The only time I was ever really afraid was on nights before I got on the plane to go back down.

I'd cut my deal with God.

If I got killed this time, someone would have to feed my cat.

Hey, Mom. What's going on?

-Julian, are you awake too? -Yeah.

[woman continues]

Okay? Snuggle.

[woman continues] The week after the attack, I visit my sister in Park Slope.

She lives in Park Slope because she's 10 years younger than me, and over the 10 years between us, the Upper West Side was priced out of the market.

I like Park Slope.

It's like my neighborhood used to be.

They just had their third kid.

Six months old, and I needed to hold that baby.

It was primal.

That week after the 11th, you could've scored big in the rent-a-baby trade.

[phone rings]

[woman continues] Phone rang. My sister answered.

It was her friend, the masseuse.

Um, hang on a second. Let me have my sister talk to you.

[woman continues] She was giving emergency massages to rescue workers.

-Hello? -"Look," she said, "I've been working on this guy. Bad shape."

[woman continues]

"He's got to give the eulogies.

He says he can't write them. He needs a writer."

I thought, well, when was the last time I heard anyone say they needed a writer?

[woman continues]


[woman continues] He lived down the block.

"Come now," I said. "I have a few hours."

My sister took the baby out for the day.


Hi. Uh...

Hi. Nick.



I'm really sorry about... uh, what happened.

Yeah. Right.

Listen, it's a, uh... it's a beautiful day. It's the weekend. You got your kids.

You don't need to be doing this. So...


My kids have play dates. I'm useless.

It's fine. Um, want some coffee?

Sure, if you've got some going.

Milk? Sugar?

Just black.

Thank you.

The thing is, I don't really know what to do.

The call came and the... the guys went out, and...

they haven't found them yet.

But some of the families, they want to have a-- a service now so that they can move on, and so I got to get up and I gotta talk in church. But...

I've been sitting in front of a piece of paper all day, and I haven't been able to... write a word. [sighs] Not a... not a sentence. I just...

keep going into a clutch.

I'm no writer under normal circumstances, but... what am I going to tell those families?

Hey, it's okay. Maybe I can help.

I've never written a eulogy before, but I've written some speeches.

Um, now, how many did you say there were?



Eight men.

I lost eight men.

So, eight eulogies.

We'll just take it a step at a time and, um, do what we can.

Uh, you say one of the services is scheduled for this week?

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Uh, Thursday. Yeah.

So we'll do that one first. Okay?

See, there's 350 men unaccounted for in the department, and, um, they've been missing for the last 10 days.

Some of the families, they're still waiting, you know.

They think they're gonna find them alive in an air pocket or something, but... the other families say no, they're gone.

And... they want to have a service to try and move on, but they don't have any bodies.


So... we're gonna put a photograph where the... coffin is supposed to go, and we'll just say the eulogies next to the picture.

But we're talking about...

350 men.

You gotta understand that in a bad year, we might lose...


This happened in one day, in one-- one hour.

So, anyway, that's 350 services, and if they keep digging and they find bodies, some of the families, they might want to have a funeral.

And if every man had a funeral and a service, that would be 700, and we'd be doing this for a year.


I just-- I just hope they don't all want funerals, too.


So, which services are scheduled so far?

I have it here in the folder.

I have a list.

Okay, where did I put that? Here we go.

[clears throat]

Um... okay. Uh, Bill Dougherty. He's first.

That's Thursday.

Then, um, Jimmy Hughes. He's next.

And after that is...

Patrick O'Neill.

That's a hard one. He was my best friend.

He was a fine man.

His wife wants to do his on his birthday.

And then, um, the next day is Barney Keppel.

It's gonna be tough on the guys. They--

Everybody loved Barney.

Well, that makes four we have to do today.

So, we'll just take it a step at a time and do what we can.

You know, human beings have been giving eulogies for thousands of years.

You're doing this for the families. You'll comfort them. It's for them.

It won't be about what happened that day.

I mean, we'll talk about who they were and make it about them.

And that's what you can give the families.

I keep hearing, you know, these speeches from politicians on TV.

Hero this, hero that.

And I don't even-- I don't even recognize them.

Well, so that's why it's good you're doing this.

I mean, you can give their friends and families something they can recognize.

You can do that. Okay?

So, tell me about Bill.

Yeah, well, Bill, you know--

That's the problem. There's really not that much to say.

You know? Uh...

All this hero stuff, it was like they were some guys in a movie, but, you know, Bill wasn't like that.

-Mm-hmm. -He was a ordinary guy. He was a schmo.

If Bill walked into a room, nobody would even notice.

But you can't...

[chuckles softly] you can't say that in a eulogy.

Back up a little bit. Just tell me about him.

Um, what did he look like?

Uh, when you think about him, what comes to mind?

-What did he look like? -Yeah.

He looked like a plumber.


You know, he was not too tall. Uh, reddish hair.


But he was a senior guy, you know, and all the junior men, they looked to him.


They had their eyes on him to know what to do.

"My men," he called them.

[Joan] When you close your eyes, where do you see him? What's he doing?

[Nick sighs]

-Uh... -Just try it.


In the kitchen.

In the kitchen?

In the kitchen. In the kitchen.

You know, the guys spent a lot of time in the kitchen.

There's a lot of downtime between runs, and I see Bill, he's sitting there, and he's talkin', and he's sayin', "My men need this, my men need that."


Bill spent a lot of time talking in the kitchen.

Uh-huh. Yeah?

And he was...

He was real good with the younger men.

You know, he was always taking them and pointing things out to them.

[Joan] Mm-hmm.

He was real... senior.

-Right. -Right.

He had been there 16 years.

And, you know, you have a lot of new guys coming through, and sometimes they can be a pain in the ass for the older guys.

They're new. They don't know where anything is.

But somebody like Bill, he could've-- He could've blown them off, but he didn't.

He was always looking out for them.

He was always taking them and showing them the gear and saying, you know, here's how you use it-- like this, not like that.

Was he a family man? Was he religious?

Oh, Bill was real quiet.

I man, most of the company didn't even know he was married.

I know he went to church.

I know he went to mass. Never made a show of it.

He was, um--

He was proud of being Irish.


I think that's why he was a fireman. It's thick in the Irish blood.


He loved this city.

He loved New York, with all its nooks and crannies.

These guys, they get to see the city from inside, outside, underground.

I mean, all the hidden places.

And Bill, he wanted to know the history of-- of everything.

I remember once he came to me and he said, "Nick, I just read this great book:

A Walking Tour of Flatbush Avenue."

-[laughs] Flatbush Avenue? -Yeah.

You want to have guys like that.

Especially downtown, with all those crazy streets.

I mean, these days you get a computerized map when you get the call.

But still you can get crazy directions, or you can get a building name with no address, or no entrance on that side of the street, that kind of stuff.

Yeah. I never thought of that.

I still don't know what happened.

I can't find anyone who saw the company.

They got off the apparatus and... the officer told the driver, "We're going to Tower One."

So they're running down West Street in full gear when the second plane hit.

And maybe they peeled off and went to Tower Two.

We're not-- We're not sure. We don't know where to look for 'em.

Um... Uh...

Uh, what else did Bill love? Um, any sports?


Uh... music?

Hmm. Uh...

Oh, you say he spent a lot of time in the kitchen.

-Hmm. -Did he like to cook?

Well, Bill wasn't exactly a cook.

You know, all the guys, they... they take turns cooking meals for each other.

And sometimes it's okay, but mostly it's-- it's pretty bad.

-[chuckles] -And...

You know, I call their cooking valiant attempts with dismal failures.

[Joan chuckles]

And every guy has his own--

[chuckles] Yeah?

And each guy has his own specialty. Usually he cooks it when it's his turn.

But we're talking about pink, under-cooked chicken, really nasty Rice-A-Roni.

But Bill, he would-- he would sit there and he would try it.

And he could come out with some real zingers, I tell ya.

So he was more of a critic.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Bill was like the firehouse food critic.

And he could zap 'em, but good.

But not mean. He was never mean.


This is-- This is good.

Um... this works.

You want to give people something-- someone they can recognize, you know.

Not just a plaster saint.

[clears throat]


[printer whirring, beeping]

So, um... try this.

It starts here and it jumps to there.

And if you could read it out loud, just so I can hear it.

Uh... [sighs]

[clears throat]

"I'm Nick Costello, captain of Ladder Company 60.

I worked with Bill Dougherty for a long time.

I want to give my condolences to all of Bill's family here with us today."

Yeah, that's good.

"We've heard a lot about heroes and Bill was one of them.

He gave his life helping others, and that is a noble thing.

But Bill was a quiet hero. He was--

He was never one to show off, never blustered.

He was a firefighter for 16 years, and he was a good one.

He had the most important quality of a good firefighter:

He was absolutely... dependable."

That's right.

He was dependable.

"Over time, we realized what an important presence he was for the newer guys at the firehouse.

Sometimes it can be hard for the experienced men to show the young ones the drills year after year, but Bill was always looking out for the new guys, pointing things out to them.

And he did it in that quiet way of his, and he never made them feel small.

'My men,' he called them.

'My men.'"

That's him. Yeah.

They're your words. I just put them in order.

That's him.

Here's more.

You want me to read it out loud?

[Joan] If you could.

"He was like an older brother to them, looking out for them all the time.

I know they appreciated it...


...and I appreciated it.

You've gotta have guys like Bill to build a strong team.

They may not say much, but they hold things together.

If Bill hadn't been a fireman, he could've been a food critic.

Bill used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, talking to the guys, evaluating the cuisine.

When Bill tried out a questionable dish, he would come up with some real zingers.

The restaurants of New York are lucky that he went into another line of work."

Yeah, the guys are gonna like that.

"What did Bill love?

He loved his family. He loved this city.

On September 11, he was the senior man.

The younger men could look to someone who was steady and professional to show the way.

We know that Bill and the other firefighters of New York saved hundreds-- no, thousands of lives that day.

That means that there are hundreds of people and thousands of their family members who are able to go on because of them.

We can only thank them, remember them...

and ask for God's kindest blessing on those they have left behind."

[Joan] So it works?

Oh, yeah. It's...

Now I got something to say when I--

I got something to give them when I get up there, you know.

It's good.

Are you okay?

[Joan] Are you okay?

What was the answer?

The pebble has dropped in the water.

The point of entry is you, yourself.

Were you present at Ground Zero and wounded, suffocated or covered in white ash?


I guess you're okay.

The first ring around the pebble.

Is your family okay?

Did you lose someone in the towers or on the planes?

The next ripple-- friends.

Are your people okay?

Next ripple.

If someone died in the towers you had dinner with once and thought was a really nice person, are you okay?

Next, if you look at a flier of a missing person in the subway and you start to lose it, are you okay?

If all the fliers are gone one day-- they're gone-- are you okay?

Is anyone okay?


That first week, I bought a coffee on the way to work and the guy behind the counter handed me my cup and said, "Here's your change. God bless America."

And I took a breath and said--

-And he said-- -Only two missing.

I hope you can find comfort.

[Joan continues] Only people in Oklahoma talk to servers in coffee shops.

But at least there you can say, "God bless."

Here you don't know if they have a God.

Or if you have a God.

Or if anyone has a God.

But it's the same God that wants the same things.

We all travel in our track-- neighborhood, job, friends, parents of your children's friends.

No matter how big a city gets, the only way to live in it is to live in your village.

Hey, Mom, can we go look out the window?


-This is so cool. -So cool.

[Joan continues] You get to a certain age, the next person you meet has a logical connection to the ones that came before-- a friend of a friend.

Nick and I weren't supposed to meet.

You couldn't create another sequence for his life that leads to me, or for my life that leads to him.

After September 11, all over the city, people were jumping tracks.

[Nick] Jimmy.

[sighs] What can I say about Jimmy?

He was, um-- he was the new guy.

He was still on probation. I hardly knew the guy.

I never even met his family.

His, uh... girlfriend... came down to the firehouse last week.

She was-- she was a nice girl.

She said he was a bicycle racer... and that the bike club in Flushing, they had a service for him, and they had flowers on the handlebars and--

But that's all I really know about the guy.

How long was he there?

He was with the Ladder a couple of weeks.

He'd been with the Engine seven weeks.

It's what we do with the probies, you know.

Seven weeks with the Engine, seven weeks with Ladder.


Oh, Ladder and Engine.

They're two companies. They work side by side.

The mission of the Engine is to get the water to the fire.

So you have a team of guys who get the hoses where they need to go.

And Ladder, we do ventilation, entry and search.

So your engine has the ladder thing.


No, you see, an engine is called an engine, and a ladder is called a truck.

Oh, you mean the-- the ladder. Oh, yeah. Sure. We got 'em.

We got lots of-- lots of stuff. Lots of ladders.

We got, um, a suitcase ladder.

It folds up to the size of a suitcase so you can carry it.

It's a beautiful thing.

And we have lots of other things.

You know, we have axes, electronic sensors.

We're the forcible entry team.

They break down the doors so the guys with the hoses can get in.

Um, Engine and Ladder.

We work out of the same firehouse, and, um, sometimes we hang out together, but we don't know each other's guys the same way.


So, Jimmy just got there. What was it like for him?

Well, you know, he, um--

He had to learn fast.

But he was willing to learn.

It was always, "Show me more, show me more."

I think he had some friends that were firemen.


Um... how old was he?

Um-- you know, I have it here.


[exhales sharply]


Um, so, uh... what kind of things did he like?

What did he look like?

I don't know.

You know, he wasn't there that long and with everything that happened...

This is terrible. This is a...

a terrible thing, but I got to tell you...

I can't even remember his face.


Hey, we'll do this.

We will figure this out.

Um, so you say that they come into your office on the first day.

Yeah, they all do.

They all come in, I shake their hand and I say, "Welcome to the company. This is the best job in the world."

Two weeks before, I shook his hand.

I didn't tell him he was gonna be dead.

You didn't know.


So how was he doing at the job?

I don't really know. He was new. I don't...

Well, but I mean, if he was screwing up, you would have heard about it, right?

Oh, sure, I always hear about it when they're screwing up.

But I didn't-- I didn't hear anything like that.

So he wasn't screwing up. So he was doing fine, and, um... and he went through probation, and, um...

Every guy goes through probation. So we can talk about that. Right?


-[Joan] So how does it work? -What, probation?


Well, first you take the test.

And then there's a brutalizing physical.

Then there's paperwork.

Lots of paperwork.

Tons and tons of paperwork.

And, um, then you go home, and you wait, and you wait, a long, long time.

Sometimes you think it's never gonna end.

And most of the guys get rejected.

But if you're lucky, you get the call.

"This is Fireman So-and-so. Come on down. You're in."


And then what?

And then you start.

You come in, you open your eyes and you shut up.



He came in at the same time as another probie.

Hipolito Diaz.

I love that name.

Hipolito Diaz.

Where do they get these names?

It's like-- like a baseball player, you know.

"And now pinch-hitting for Mariano Rivera, Hipolito Diaz."

[imitates crowd cheering]

He's missing too.

He's missing with the guys from the engine company.

So, um, they came in during the summer, right?

Was it a long, hot summer? I mean--

What was it like in the weeks leading up to it?

Nothing special.

You know, just small stuff.

False alarms, wastepaper basket fires. Stuff like that.

But they were...

they were restless.

They were champing at the bit.

This is what they were waiting for.

So Jimmy hadn't really been in that many fires before?


This was it. September 11 was his first big fire.

[printer whirring]

Here. Try this.


"I'm Nick Costello, Captain of Ladder Company 60.

We're here to honor the memory of Jimmy Hughes.

I'd like to offer my condolences to his family."

That's all good. Um...

"Jimmy's job was to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible.

After a few weeks, we could already tell he was gonna be good at the job.

He was quiet, helpful and hardworking.

The-- The guys liked him, and they're good judges of character.

On that morning in September...

Jimmy was going out on his first big fire.

He was serving with the cream of the crop, and he was holding his own.


They were ready for this day.

It was work they had chosen, work that was about risking everything, risking your life in order to save others.

In our grief, let us remember that."


"When Jimmy first came to the firehouse, he came into my office and I shook his hand... telling him what I tell all the new men:

'This is the best job in the world.'

Now I would say this is the most important job in the world."

[Joan] Hmm.

Maybe that last part's not right.


"Best job in the world."

Can I-- Can I say that in front of his folks?

But it's true, you know. I've been-- I've been doing this for 20 years.

I can't imagine doing anything else.

-I believe you. -And these guys--

These guys. You just can't believe these guys.



More coffee?

-Yeah, why not? -Okay.

It's probably a little cold. Ugh.

You should try the coffee at the firehouse. It's really bad.

Oh, no. I drink a lot of bad coffee.

No, I mean, it's really bad. Disgusting bad.

I don't usually drink it this late in the day.


[Joan] Hey!

Got some pizza!

[Joan] Okay.

You know... [stammers] it's getting late. I should go.

You got your whole weekend. You got things you need to do.

We're not finished. Um, Nick.

When we talked on the phone, I thought about everything I had to do this afternoon.

Nothing more important than this.

But next week, once I'm back in the office, you know, with the kids and everything, then it might be hard to get back.

So let's, um--

-let's do what we can today. -[kids yelling]

Okay, uh...

Um... Patrick. We...

we need to do Patrick.

See, the thing is that I--

I think that I'm in denial about him.

I swear, I'm sitting in my office, and the door opens and I think he's gonna walk in.

[Joan] Patrick O'Neill.

Yeah, Patrick.

This man had a full life.

There was always something going on, you know.

His work, his family, his church.

I remember I said to him one time...

"What are you doing this weekend?"

And he said...

he said, "I'm going to a church picnic."

[clears throat]

I didn't even know they still had church picnics anymore.




She just got married. She's 25.

The twins are 14.

Theresa's 10.

His wife is Mary-Rose.

He has a birthday... coming up.

He's gonna be 47 next month.

How long was he with the company?


I saw Patrick come into the company as a brand-new lieutenant four years ago.

When you're new, you're shaky about everything, but over time I saw him grow.

I mean, that was the thing about Patrick. He had conviction.

He knew that this was the job for him, and he was sure he could do it, and that's what makes a leader.

You know, the troops, they just eat that up.

So the men looked up to him?

Oh, sure, yeah. They wanted somebody to follow.

That's the difference between being a boss and being a leader.


[Nick] Patrick was two weeks away from taking his captain's test.

And there's no doubt about it, he had it.

When I think of him...

I think of when I was in the infantry, and we had this-- this motto:

"Follow me."

That's what he was like-- confident. "Follow me."

And they did.

[sighs] That morning, too.

Are the men ever... afraid?

Everybody's afraid.

They just never admit it.

Oh. Right.


They need somebody to follow, make good decisions, cool under fire.

What picture do you have of him?

I mean, when you think about him, um, where is he? What's he doing?

I see him walking.

He had these... these long strides like nobody's gonna stop this train.

I mean, Pat could cover a room in two steps.

I see him leading five guys up to a building and sizing it up.

That's what they do when they get to a fire.

They walk around and they size it up.

And I see these five guys in there running to keep up with him.

And all the time, they're listening, and they're thinking, "What does he want? How do we do this job right?"

And how does he motivate them?

Praise. Lots of praise. Especially, you know--

-In the kitchen. -Kitchen.


But, you know, he kept an eye on 'em too. Especially the new ones, the probies.

"This one's good," he'd say if he liked him or--

But don't try to put anything over on Pat.

If a square rooter came into the company, Pat picked up on that right away. He knew.

A square rooter?

Yeah, that's what we call 'em, you know.

Somebody who's looking out for himself. You know, an operator.


So Patrick was a real straight arrow.

[Nick] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I mean, he was-- he was a real role model for the men.

Last year, Barney Keppel had a little, uh, run-in with the law, and Patrick helped him out.

And afterwards, Barney came up to him and said, "Okay, Lieutenant, that's it.

From now on, I'm a new man. Work, church and home. Just like you."

He must've liked that.

Oh, yeah, but he-- he didn't believe it. He knew it wouldn't last.

But Barney was work, church and home at least until Friday.

-Maybe Thursday. -[chuckles]

But Barney didn't mean anything by it. He just got into scrapes.

Him and Dave. Barney and Dave.

So Patrick talked a lot about his kids.

Oh, yeah. All the time.

He was always, "Frankie's soccer practice this weekend, I'm going to meet Christie's in-laws on Sunday, Theresa's recital is tonight."

I mean, this man-- this man had a full life.

I remember one time he came to me and he said, "Hey, I just made a Waldorf salad for the church picnic.

You ought to try it sometime."

Church picnic-- I didn't even know they still had 'em, you know.

Well, I can't say I've been to many recently.


Nobody's having any fun anymore.


There was something though.

Um, last night. A tango wedding.

No, really, I went to this tango wedding party.

He's Japanese. She's a blonde from California.

And they met at their tango club in Central Park.

The party was at this restaurant down on 38th Street.

The whole place was done up all white and silver with candlelight.

They-- They even had a little tango trio. You know, real Argentines.

And they played, and after the dinner, people danced, you know.

Ten couples.

The bride and groom-- God, they were really good.

The tango is a...

a difficult dance.


And the-- the woman were all dressed up, you know, with their hair up.

You just don't see that.

They were wearing little high-heeled shoes with pointy toes.

And when they got going on the dance floor, their feet just, you know, flashed.

God, it was beautiful.

It was like a dream intermission in the middle of... all this.

I, um...

I dance, you know. That's... my big thing.

You dance? Really?



I've been taking lessons for years.

I mean, I-- I don't do the competitions or anything, but, you know, I like to learn new stuff and perfect my steps.

And... people-- people are great.

What kind of dancing do you do?

Lots of kinds. Swing, ballroom.

The tango is at the very top, though. It's a very difficult dance.

I mean, you can study tango for a long, long time.


You like to dance?

Uh, well, I like to, but my husband doesn't, so I don't get the chance.

But watching them made me want to.

Their teachers were there.

Oh, I've never seen dancing like that.

There was one time when I went to a party, and my teacher was there.

And she said, uh, "Come on. Let's do it."

And it was incredible.

I mean, you looked at her and it was all there.

The frame, it was-- I mean, she was perfect.

You can't make a mistake when you're dancing with perfection.

[chuckles] The frame?

Yeah, the frame. The frame.

You know, it's the invisible box that you stand in, and how you hold yourself inside it.

The frame.


It's like-- It's like if you push your partner's hand--

Give me your hand.

-Okay. -It's like if you push your partner's hand and it's like a pile of cooked spaghetti, that's no good.

-Okay. -All right?

Give me your hand again. This time, give me a little resistance.

All right?

Okay, now, just a little bit.

-[chuckles] -A little resistance. A little less.

If you push your partner's hand like that, you have to feel the bodies moving together, like that.

-[grunts] -Oh! [laughs]


Or it's no good.

And if you're lucky, it all comes together.

-You're in total sync. -Hmm.

Sometimes it's... it's hard for these modern women.

You know, they're professionals, they're educated, they're used to being in charge.

But when you dance...

you got to be able to feel the lead.

You have to follow.

Yeah, you gotta let go.

It's not so hard.

I'll show you. Stand up.

Get up.

Stand up.

Put the pad down.

Come here. Come on.

Okay. Now...

This... is your frame.

-Okay. -Okay?

Now, there are eight basic steps to the tango.

-Okay. -Here we go.

Don't look down. Look up.

-Okay. -Okay. Here we go again.


[Joan reading]

We didn't dance. He just gave my hand that little push like the demonstration of a cantilever.

I mean, it was all proper.

But after that touch, whenever I watched him after that, I noticed how light he was on his feet.

I could imagine him moving quickly and usefully across a landscape of flame and broken glass.

I could see him at a dance class swinging his partner, smiling as their feet snapped, synchronized into place.

I could see Jimmy Hughes, cresting a hill on his bike, and Patrick O'Neill with his kids and his salad at the picnic.

It made me wonder what I used to see every time I walked past a firehouse.

I never thought about a kitchen back there.

[radio chatter]

-[Joan] Hi. -How you doin'?

[Joan] How you guys doing?

-Fine. -Pretty good.

Hangin' in there.

[Joan] I live in the neighborhood.

I just wanted to come by and thank you for everything and say how sorry we are.

-[fireman 1] Thank you. -[fireman 2] Thanks.

[Joan] If there's anything we can do...

[fireman] Appreciate it.

[Joan] Can I ask you a question?

Do you by any chance have a kitchen in your firehouse?


Upstairs or--

[fireman] No, it's on the first floor in the back.

And you make meals in...

-Yes. -[Joan] You're good cooks?

[fireman] Depends on where we get the pizza from. [laughs]

[Joan] And then you said some are better than others.

Yeah, some better than others.

Are you guys with Engine or Ladder?

[fireman] We're an engine company.

From the engine. So you put water on the fire.

[fireman] Yes.

I just want you to know the neighborhood is with you.

And, you know, if there's anything at all that we can do...

-Thanks. -...we'll be glad to do it.

Take care of yourselves.

-Thanks. -Bye-bye.

[fireman] It means a lot. Thank you very much.

[Joan] I knew then that every time I saw a person on the street, I saw only his public shadow.

The rest, the important part, lived in layer after layer beyond my view.

We have no idea what wonders are hidden in the people around us.

Nick, where were you that morning?

I was at home.

In Brooklyn.

When it happened, I went outside on the street, and I could see the tower was burning.

I wasn't due in till 6:00 p.m.

We work shifts.

Patrick was working the morning shift.

Yeah, I made an entry in the log at 10:15.

I got there 20 minutes after the second tower went down.

The truck and the ladder... they left at about 8:52.

There's a video camera with a time clock at the door of the firehouse and you see them.

You see them go.

[Joan] Hmm.

We lost 14 men.

Six from the Engine. Eight from the Ladder.

Two survived, you know. Two drivers.

The one driving the engine and the one driving the truck.

And the last thing Pat said was...

"We're going to Tower One."

You know, this really... this really stupid thing happened.

You know those orange plastic traffic cones, the big ones?

Well, on the way down the ladder truck hit one, and it got wedged in between the tire and the fender.

And you can't go anywhere until you get it out.

So, Steve, the driver, he was out there wrestling and cursing, trying to get this thing out, but he couldn't do it.

So Pat said, you know, "Come on. Let's go. It's only a couple of blocks.

And Steve can meet us down there. We're going to Tower One."

So, finally, Steve gets the cone out and he makes his way down, and he's in the lobby of Tower One and he's looking for the company... when he's blown out of the lobby of Tower One... by the collapse of Tower Two.

He's blown clear out of that lobby.

Hitting that stupid cone saved his life.

I just keep trying to figure it out.

You know, the night before, I said to Pat, "What shift do you want?"

You know, we did this all the time. We... traded shifts.

And always he had a reason, you know.

He'd say, "I'll take today, you take tomorrow.

I'll take tomorrow, you take today.

I've got Frankie's soccer practice. I've got this, I've got that."

He always had a reason.

But on that day, he just said...

"Oh, I'll take Tuesday morning."

No reason.

I'm alive and he's dead.

And I don't even know why.

I lay awake at night just thinking...

"What's the reason?"

There's no reason.

[exhales sharply]


Nick, this guy, he sounds too perfect.

I mean, he must've had some flaw.

Come on.

-A flaw? -Yeah.

Come on. Just...

Well, he was a perfectionist.


Used to drive him nuts if something wasn't working right or if something was messy.

He'd walk through the firehouse, and if he saw the probies loafing around, he'd say, "Come on. Pick up a broom. Sweep. Do something."

Or if he saw them sitting in the kitchen, he'd say, "Read a book."

That was Pat.


Is that a flaw?

But it is human.

And we have to make him human.

Yeah, well, I swear, every day I sit in that office, and those doors swing open and I think he's gonna walk in.

Tell me what you think of this.

"I want to offer my condolences to his family who are here with us today.

It's impossible to think of Patrick without thinking of you.

Even when he was working all out, Patrick always had his family in mind."

That's the sense I have of him.

Hmm. That's good.

"The men looked up to him, for the way he did his job but also for the way he lived his life.

Work, church and home was his motto."

Oh, uh...

That was what Barney said was his motto.

I'm not sure that Patrick said that that was his motto.



-Uh-- -You know what? Don't--

Leave it. It sounds good.


"Patrick O'Neill was a big man.

He covered the ground in long, sure strides.

When he went out to a fire, he led the way.

The other guys had to walk double-time just to keep up."

That's right. I was one of them.

We can put that in. Yeah?

"He took special pride in the new guys, the probies.

He expected the same sense of purpose from them that he had himself.

If one of them was taking it easy around the firehouse when Patrick arrived, he would do well to find an emergency broom."

"Emergency broom." That's good. I like that.

"On September 11, Pat was two weeks away from taking his captain's test.

And there's no doubt about it, he would have aced it.

When I think of Pat, I think of the infantry motto, 'Follow me.'

I'm sure that's what he said that morning as they left the truck.

'Follow me'-- with his long stride that gave so much confidence and purpose to his men that day.

And I don't care whether Pat ever took that captain's test.

In my book, he earned it, and 'captain' is the least of it.

Patrick O'Neill was many things to many people-- leader, friend, brother, husband, father.

And none of us here will ever forget him."

[sniffles] Oh.

-[Nick] I'm really sorry. -Oh.

[Nick] I've got no right to do this. I'm really sorry.

I should have never unloaded all this on you.

[Joan] Oh, God. No, this is... nothing.

This is so less than nothing compared to what happened to you.

You were on the outside of this, and I dragged you in.

I had no right to do that.

[breathing heavily]

Was I outside of it? I don't want to be.

This is my city too. I can't just watch this on TV.

I want to do something.

But this is all I know how to do: words.

This is all I have. I can't think of anything else.

It's okay.

It's okay. They're your tools.

[Joan] People need to tell their stories.


Even the people who tell their stories know this.

You know, when it first happened, I would wake up every day cleansed of the memory.

There would be these fresh moments after sleep.

And then I'd remember.

Yes, it happened.

And now I have to go through another day, living that reality.


[Nick] Maybe we should stop.

You're tired.

You're fried. I can tell from looking at ya.

Didn't you say there was one more service scheduled?



Barney and Dave, my two wild men.

But they haven't scheduled Dave yet.

Okay. Barney.



Tell me about Barney.

Barney. Well--

Everybody loved Barney.

He and, um...

He and Dave were always getting in trouble.


They were always having these, um, escapades.

So one day he comes in, and he says, "I found this '69 Thunderbird convertible in, like, Wyoming.

I'm gonna go buy it," he tells us.

And these two guys, they come back across country in this beat-up old T-Bird, but they're supposed to be at work.

So I keep getting these calls from, like, you know, South Dakota, "Don't worry, Cap. We're coming. We're on our way."

Well, finally, they-- they get back and they tell the story.

But it's one of these, you know, firehouse tales that they tell in the kitchen that gets riper every time you hear it.

He had this banter that could just keep you rolling.

His jokes were really, really bad.



I don't know-- maybe it was the way he laughed at them himself.

He'd just keep everybody in stitches.

This was a guy that you loved.


Well, yeah.

And no.

I mean, you gotta understand.

This is a guy in his mid-30s. He's still living with his parents.

They were an elderly German couple.

They never called him Barney. Bernhardt it was.


Yeah, his mother always said... [deep voice] "Bernhardt."

He had his own private workshop in the firehouse, and he used to do all the firehouse welding.

And, you know, above the bench, where you hang your wrenches, he had a spot for every tool.

There was a silhouette in the shape of the tool.

My dad is like that.

-[Nick] Oh, yeah? -Yeah.

We have this, um, giant generator, a power source.

Uh, very hard to move around. Takes two guys.

It's a Hurst tool. They use it in traffic accidents.

Some people call it the Jaws of Life, but it's a Hurst tool.

So Barney comes along, and he whips out his measuring tape, and he builds this brand-new handcart that fits exactly into the truck compartment, on wheels.

One guy can handle it by himself, no sweat.

Wow. That sounds ingenious.

We didn't even know we needed it.

Sometimes we would try and send him out to the hardware store to get something.

He'd go, "Ah, no, no, no, no. Too flimsy." And he'd make it himself.

His bench: bolted to the floor. That thing's not going anywhere.

One time this guy got transferred into the company.

And he brought this metal workout rack, which you put the barbells on.

So we put it in the workout room, and the guys were using it.

Time goes by and the guy gets transferred out.

And he comes and he says, "I'm gonna take my equipment with me."

Barney looks at Dave and he says, "Oh, no, he's not."

So he goes in and he welds the whole thing together.

-[Joan laughs] -You can use it, but you can't get it out the door.

I mean, that thing is never going anywhere.

And there was nothing-- there was nothing this guy could do about it. Nothing.

He was-- he was mad.

Well, what did Barney look like?

Oh, you know, he was tall, uh, light-haired, uh, kind of beefy, not exactly handsome.

You know, he and Dave used to go out drinking, trying to meet, uh, nice girls.

Um, but Barney never had too much luck.


He used to always say if only he could meet a woman welder.

That would be the girl of his dreams.

So whenever he would meet a woman, all the guys would say, "Yeah, but, Barney, can she weld?"


-Flashdance. -Exactly.

-[Nick] Mm. -[Joan laughs]

Oh, God.

Everybody else was on duty that day.

But I wasn't sure about Barney. He wasn't on duty, but he didn't call in.

So all day, while I'm checking all the other reports, I keep thinking, "What about Barney? Where's Barney?"

What happened?

Well, time went by.

And then we remembered the videotape from the firehouse security camera.

So we watched it.

And it's just before 9:00.

And you see Barney's van pull up. He gets out.

He's talking to Dave.

And then suddenly, the street and the sidewalk start filling up with papers.

The companies go.

Barney and Dave go.

They turn and they walk away.



They walk away.


[Joan] When do we go back to normal?

I asked somebody that the other day.

Will we go back to normal?

He said, yes, we'll go back to normal.

But normal will be different.

This is the new normal.

The city is different.

We lost our... jazz.

We're muted.

We've lost... a lot.

I get angry.

How can you cut deals with God under these conditions?

I know my terms.

I realized it the other day getting on the subway.

I want them back.

I want them back.

All of them. That's all I'll settle for.

I'll tell you how it can work.

Let's just play the tape backward and start with the shot of the rubble.

The dust and steel rise and untwist and form back up into the buildings.

The flames are sucked back into Tower Two and then Tower One.

The planes fly backward across the river, take a curve, and land backwards in Boston.

Everybody gets out of the plane and drives backwards home.


The guys in the ladder truck run backward.

Barney's there. He's next to Dave.

This time, Jimmy's in front, and Patrick's in back.

They get in the truck, back up.

The orange traffic cone falls out on the street, and the truck backs into the firehouse.

Barney gets into his van and backs off home.

That's it.

That's the deal.

I just--

I just have nothing to bring to the table.

[Nick clears throat]

I am Nick Costello of Ladder Company 60.

I'm here to honor the memory of our dear friend and brother, Bernhardt Keppel.

I want to offer my most sincere condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Keppel who are with us here today.

I hope that these few words can give you some sense of how... very much Barney meant to us... and how much we thought of him...

and the light that he brought into our lives.

What can I tell you about Barney?

He, uh...

he lifted your heart.

He had an-- an unstoppable sense of humor.

He was, uh-- he was fun.

He had a happy laugh that just kind of rose out of him, and it took you along.

Humor was as natural as breathing.

But Barney also had an art: a metal worker's art.

He recuperated things.

There was nothing he loved more than fatigued metal.

Barney was a genius with metal.

He could weld it, bend it, bolt it, drill it-- you name it.

And then... he brought in creativity.

He'd notice something around the firehouse that didn't work very well, something that we just took for granted, and he'd think up a solution.

Like the huge generator, the Hurst tool that's mounted on the rig for car accidents.

One day, Barney builds us a specially designed hand truck that fits right into the compartment.

He'd fixed something before we'd even defined the problem.

That's the kind of guy he was.

We depend on our tools. They're all important.

When you go out on a call, sometimes you break through metal, sometimes you break through wood.

You need different tools.

But when you're answering an alarm...

every tool counts.

He was a man who worked magic with his hands, respected his tools and respected his job.

The department can't ask for more than that.

Yet he brought so much more.

He made us smile.

And he still does just... just thinking of him.

He made us laugh.

He made us feel good about who we were, about working with each other.

But trust Barney to leave us something more earthly too.

His careful hands built things to last.

The tools that he built are still in the firehouse.

They're still with us. They're anchored.

They're welded. They're bolted. They're grounding us.

-And we use them every day. -[mouthing]

And every time we touch them...

we are grateful that we could share his light.

[papers rustle]

Thank you.

Good job. Great job.

[bagpipes playing]

[bagpipes fade, stop]

This morning early

I walked on ♪

While my darling ♪

♪ Was in a dream ♪

The last sweet days of summer bloomed

And dressed the trees

In green

Then soaring high in the gleaming sky

From far across the bay

Came a fearsome roar

From a distant shore

At the dawning of

The day ♪

Then I called my men

To follow me

Knowing well that the view was dim

Though tired and worn

How they fought all morn

As time was closing in

And my heart was sad

Though sore with pride

For brave lads all were they

As the angels fly

How they climbed so high

On the dawning of the day

But the edge is moving nearer now

Inside the fading sun

And calling, calling out to them

My brothers, one by one

But only dusty silence sounds

The ashes float away

As the twilight ends

And the night descends

Till the dawning of the day

Forgive me, love

I'm going now

So very far away

When darkness falls

Only think me near

And do not be afraid

And please don't grieve when I am gone

Abide in what remains

Till the shadows end

And we meet again

On the dawning of the day

For when shadows end

We shall meet again

On the dawning of

The day