On September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks took place against targets in the United States of America. Four airplanes had been hijacked, three of which were led and crashed by hijackers to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, while the fourth one crashed outdoors. The Twin Towers collapsed a while after the airplanes had crashed on them, causing thousands of losses : apart from the 19 hijackers, the total loss of lives was 2,973, twenty-four of which remaining missing.
That day, time stopped and the world froze.
Countless times, over the years, have we worldwide experienced wars, hardships, violence and misery. However, the tragedy of the Twin Towers has been beyond imagination, beyond human logic and an action of raw violence which sacrificed thousands of souls and spread pain and sorrow to thousands of families and homes.
In the heart of the Firefighting family, the New York Fire Department (FDNY) mourned 343 brothers who sacrificed their lives to save their fellow humans in an incident without precedent and under the most difficult circumstances. It was an incident which wiped out the two megatowers of the Industrial Revolution, the two technological role models of architecture and which, as it has already been mentioned, deprived 75 fire stations of 343 firefighters.
Nowadays, Greece has been tortured by the relentless economic crisis which has chain reactions to society, to the ethical as well as to the cultural values of the country.
The daily life and routine, in connection to the problems that continually spring like the Lernaean Hydra, distracts our attention and admiration from small daily yet important gestures. All these problems blind us and, as a result, we fail to notice the daily heroes who may not have a shiny armor but who are low-profile and for whom the value of the society and community are a priority over their own life. People who are dirty from smoke yet with eyes bright like lighthouses bringing salvation from the human pain and ultimate misery.
They are people with families, people who neglect their personal problems to protect the families of others in a difficult moment.
They are people who feel the value and the loss of a brother or sister of their “big family” which is that of the firefighters. Because the job of the firefighter is not just within the borders of profession but it surpasses that. It is an institution that breaks the borders of countries and unites brothers and sisters in joy and in sorrow.
This article is dedicated to the people who come from what is known as the island that gives birth to brave men, Crete, who are professional firefighters and who, quietly, without being pompous, wished, in their own way, to honor their brothers and sisters lost in the Twin Towers. Therefore, it is our duty, even belated, to stress this gesture of theirs and we, as magazine, to honor these real everyday heroes.
To be exact, the Greek Fire Service Union of Firefighters of the Chania Prefecture, after a decision of the Administration Border, decided to create an original remembrance of the lost heroes, putting the Cretan stamp and adding a Cretan color in the New York Fire Museum.
This jewelry knife was created by the Skalidakis Knife Manufacturing, a work shop having many years of experience and working with artistry.
The knife is a traditional handmade Cretan knife with bone handle of the “V” shape, accompanied by a silver or silver-decorated case or a 925 case.
- Blade length: 26 cm, Blade thickness: 2 mm
- Blade material: Stainless steel
- Grip material: Calf bone
- Case material: Black silver like gun powdered 925
- Year of manufacturing: 2008
The case consists of the head in the shape of a snake-dragon, the back has got a symbol of the Christian orthodox cross and the two sides have engraved decorative representations of themes such as : dolphins, snakes, musketry, the Chania lighthouse, the image of the Cretan hero Kagiales, flowers and plants like tulips and many other images that are symbols of the island’s origin. Rings decorate the finish of the case from which two handmade chains are hung connected to five-drachma coins of the Cretan state and they are all made of 925 silver. The five-drachma coins, on the one side, depict the face statue of King George II with the words PRINCE GEORGE OF GREECE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF CRETE as inscription. On the other side of the coin, what is depicted is the value, the royal coat of arms and the inscription “CRETAN STATE”.
The grip consists of horn sleeves V shaped at the end, the “Tsemperlikia” that are between the horn sleeve start from the back of the blade and wrap up to the handle end of the blade finish. At the junction of the blade and the handle, there is elaborate Argyros bending.
The blade is made of stainless steel with the typical curved and sharpened tip. The mantinada poem is engraved on the blade. The case box is made of brown leather and the island of Crete is embossed in silver on the cover. On the inside, there is the Greek and the American flag and there is a silver memorial tablet which has the words HONOR AND GLORY TO THE IMMORTAL FIREFIGHTERS OF NEW YORK engraved in English as well as the full name of the Chania Union.
On June 28, 2008, the at the time president of the Union Mr Manarolis, and after the decision of the Administrative Board, had the task of transferring and delivering this gift during a personal trip.
In our communication with Mr Manarolis, he described the awe and emotion he felt when he visited Ground Zero as well as when he visited the New York Fire Museum. He also described how he was received with honor and respect by the American colleagues, who received this amazing gift of the Cretan Union in devoutness.
What is indicative is the following link from the Fire Museum where millions of website visitors can admire the Cretan gift.. (press the link here)
Who are these everyday heroes? Who are the firefighters who were sacrificed in the Twin Towers? Who are the brothers and sisters from the other side of the world who honored a whole country in the words of a mantinada poem?… “ I am a Cretan knife of honor and bravery, yet also a token of a true friendship”.
The Greek Fire Service Union of Firefighters of the Chania Prefecture was founded in 2007, it consists of about 120 members and colleagues and it is based in Chania, in the center of the city. The offices of the Union are on the outside the Chania Administration area.
The aim of the Union is to protect the interests of their employees and fellow firefighters who belong to this prefecture. The Union’s efforts are concentrated on trying to have firefighters who remain admirable, democratic, who can respond to contemporary needs and who are in place to offer their services to their fellow citizens. The Union wishes to keep firefighters trained and fully prepared, ready to deal with any kind of incident, under difficult circumstances.
Clearly, at a difficult time of economic crisis, this Union is struggling for the best possible working conditions, for the retirement and insurance program of its members and tries to solve every problem with which a member has to cope.
The Greek Fire Service Union of Firefighters of the Chania Prefecture acts as a trade union with their elected representatives in the Greek Union Federation of Firefighters of the Greek Fire Service(Π.Ο.Ε.Υ.Π.Σ.) as well as with elected representatives in the prefectural department of the Administration of Unions of Civil Servants(Α.Δ.Ε.Δ.Υ.) of the Chania Prefecture.
The Union acts in seven services, stations and substations of Chania, which are :
- 1st Fire Station of Chania (it belongs to the Administration)
- 2nd Fire Station of Chania in the 115 combat wing (it belongs to the Administration)
- Fire Service of Vryses (it belongs to the Crete Prefecture)
- Fire Service of Kissamos (it belongs to the Crete Prefecture)
- Fire Substation of Kabanos (it is part of the 1st Fire Station), whose jurisdiction is the Samaria Gorge, a place awarded by the E.U.
- Fire Substation of Kandanos (it is part of the Fire Service of Kissamos) whose jurisdiction is the Gavdos island, which is the most southern island of Europe.
In such difficult times, when values and morals are oppressed, the least that can be said to the Greek Fire Service Union of Firefighters of the Chania Prefecture is congratulations. These are initiatives that, above all, express the moral standards and the solidarity ,especially in the world firefighting family, in sad and miserable events. Such examples should be highlighted, be set as examples of civilization and patriotism, in a country which daily deals with extreme pressures from other countries abroad in many sections and as a country it is our duty to support, encourage and transfer the example of the generosity, ethos and courage of these everyday people.
I would like to warmly thank the former president Antonios Manarolis and the current president Nektarios Kariotakis for the valuable information they have provided and for the photos that they offered to me so that I could write this article.
Finally, it is my duty to mention the names of the heroes who attempted the impossible, in a tragic event with no return. Inside me, I believe that they knew it was impossible but the courage and bravery of these men will never be forgotten in the pages of world history.
For Fire.gr, Simon Banos
Special thanks to Maria Bitra , for the article translation.
|Department Chief||Peter J. Ganci, Jr., 54|
|Deputy Commissioner||William M. Feehan, 72|
|Fire Marshal||Ronald Paul Bucca, 47|
|Battalion 4||Lt. Thomas O’Hagan, 43|
|Battalion 6||Chief John P. Williamson, 46|
|Battalion 11||Chief John M. Paolillo, 51|
|Battalion 12||Chief Frederick Claude Scheffold, Jr, 57|
|Battalion 22||Lt. Charles Joseph Margiotta, 44|
|Battalion 43||Lt. Geoffrey E. Guja, 49|
|Battalion 47||Lt. Anthony Jovic, 39|
|Battalion 50||Chief Lawrence T. Stack, 58|
|Division 11||Capt. Timothy M. Stackpole, 42|
|Engine 5||Manuel Del Valle, Jr, 32|
|Engine 8||Robert Parro, 35|
|Engine 21||Capt. William Francis Burke, Jr, 46|
|Engine 27||Michael Ragusa, 29|
|Engine 37||John Giordano, 47|
|Engine 50||Robert W. Spear, Jr, 30|
|Engine 58||Lt. Robert B. Nagel, 55|
|Engine 74||Ruben D. Correa, 44|
|Engine 205||Lt. Robert Francis Wallace, 43|
|Engine 216||Daniel Suhr, 37|
|Engine 219||John Chipura, 39|
|Engine 238||Lt. Glenn E. Wilkenson, 46|
|Engine 285||Raymond R. York, 45|
|Engine 320||Capt. James J. Corrigan, 60|
|Ladder 8||Lt. Vincent Gerard Halloran, 43|
|Ladder 10||Sean Patrick Tallon, 26|
|Ladder 27||John Marshall, 35|
|Ladder 38||Joseph Spor, Jr, 35|
|Ladder 42||Peter Alexander Bielfeld, 44|
|Ladder 111||Lt. Christopher P. Sullivan, 39|
|Ladder 131||Christian Michael Otto Regenhard, 28|
|Ladder 136||Michael Joseph Cawley, 32|
|Ladder 166||William X. Wren, 61|
Πηγές : el.wikipedia.org