I saw on Dale Roe’s site that Captain Patrick Brown did not receive a tribute last year, which really surprised me. Captain Brown seemed to be the perfect American Hero – U.S. Marine, Vietnam war veteran, Gold Gloves boxer, 6 time marathoner, black belt karate instructor, and even one of Manhattan’s “most eligible bachelors.”
Patrick “Paddy” Brown was meant to be a firefighter. As a kid, he used to listen to fire calls on his scanner and would spend as much time at the local fire house as he could. When he returned from his service in Vietnam, he worked his way into the New York City Fire Department, and eventually made it to Ladder 3 in Manhattan.
On September 11th, he helped to lead about 25,000 civilians to safety out of the North Tower at the World Trade Center. It is believed that Captain Brown and other firefighters were on the 40th floor of the World Trade Center, helping dozens of severly burned victims, when the North Tower fell.
Captain Brown’s remains were finally found on December 14, 2001. His family scattered his remains on a jogging path in Central Park. Later, the Captain Patrick J Brown Walk would be constructed along the East River on Avenue C near his Stuyvesant apartment. The story of his recovery was made into a documentary, titled “Finding Paddy.” There is also a memorial web site dedicated to his memory, which has raised money to support established charities that assist firefighters, their families, members of the Armed Forces. The site can be found here – The Patrick Brown Memorial Foundation.
One of his bravest rescues was in May, 1991. He and his fellow firefighters charged into a 12 story burning building to save two people that were trapped on the top floors. There was no way to reach them by foot, so he organized a rope rescue from the roof to pull them to safety. He recalled the event in July, 2001.
This guy was going to jump any minute, any minute. Even thinking of it now, 10 years later, I get all upset. As a lieutenant, I could have said that we aren’t doing this. And the guy would have died. I could have said that it’s too dangerous, and nobody would have said a word. If I had finagled around and said, “Break the wall so we can tie off and have a safety line,” he would have been gone. The victim was four or five feet below, looking up at me. It was either let’s do it or let’s not. I just said, I know we can do it.
At Captain Brown’s memorial service on November 9th, 2001, Firefighter Mike Moran, from Brown’s Ladder Company 3, did the eulogy. Here’s part of the wonderful tribute:
On the morning of Sept. 11th, enemies of the United States attacked the World Trade Center. Their followers rejoiced, they even danced in the streets. They thought they had achieved success. But they did not.
They made the mistake on the morning of Sept. 11th, when all they saw when they looked at the WTC was 2 buildings. What they failed to see was the nation that stood behind them. What they failed to understand was the terrible resolve they had awakened.
And if there is justice in the afterlife, and I believe there is…..
Those fanatics who crashed those planes into the WTC did NOT get to meet Allah. They did NOT get 70 virgins. Instead, they met Patrick J. Brown. And they discovered they messed with the wrong Marine.
In remembrance of Captain Patrick John Brown, age 48, New York City.