herald

Friday 17 August 2018

9/11 fire chief brings message of peace to Dublin

A 9/11 fire chief will be marking the 10th anniversary of the event addressing a special event in Tallaght.

The now retired New York fire chief Dan Daly lost 50 of his firefighters at Ground Zero.

But instead of seeking vengeance, the Irish American has gone around the world preaching a message of peace.

As part of his quest that has seen him travel to Brazil, Canada, Nepal, Chile, Nicaragua, Australia and New Zealand, Dan will be going to the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght to speak on 'The Five Keys to Successful Living' which is a message of personal responsibility and means that "your actions matter and your actions have reactions".

Daly recalls the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, as a "beautiful crystal clear day", and remembers how he was tempted to fly his own private plane as he was off duty that day. His world changed when a friend contacted him, telling him to switch on his TV.

Within minutes, the 24-year veteran was at Ground Zero scarcely believing what was unfolding in front of him.

He lost more than 50 of his men at Ground Zero that day. One of those was Steve Belson, a very close friend of Dan's who had convinced him to leave school teaching and join the fire department and set him on the road to a very successful career. Steve was one of the hundreds of fire officers who bravely went into the North Tower and never came out.

Afterwards, Dan felt anger and gave serious consideration to joining the armed forces.

The anger was exacerbated in the days after the attacks as Dan worked at the scene collecting body parts and confronting the horror of losing close comrades.

However, the fire chief began to realise a completely different message of peace must be spread.

The hope he saw was through the volunteers who turned up to Ground Zero to set up tents and bring some comfort to the rescue workers through therapies such as massage and chiropractics.

These people helped those feelings of anger to subside and changed his life forever.

Upon his retirement, Dan opted to travel the world to spread the message and give a series of inspirational talks.

"9/11 was a wake-up call for everybody but it seems that everybody has gone back to sleep," says Dan.

hnews@herald.ie

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