Firefighters gather together to remember (video)

TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – With solemn ceremonies taking place throughout the Hudson Valley and the country, many professional firefighters sought a place to mourn the heroic sacrifices made by their fellow firefighters that perished on September 11, 2001.  In Dutchess County, the career firefighters gathered at Juan Murphy’s in Arlington to mourn together.

The Dutchess County Professional Firefighters Association (DCPFA), led by President Joe Tarquinio, gathered at the Arlington bar and restaurant to raise a toast to the 343 firefighters that died 20 years ago Saturday.  Firefighters from Arlington, City of Poughkeepsie, Beacon, LaGrange, Newburgh, West Point, and others raised their glasses at 3:43 p.m. while DCPFA Vice-president Chris Rinck said “Today we honor our brothers and sisters that sacrificed their lives on that horrific day.  We raise a glass to them and also honor those that are still dying as a result of their efforts at Ground Zero.”

Tarquinio, a Lieutenant with the Arlington Fire Department, joined in raising a glass and said “The professional firefighters here today put their lives on the line every day to protect the communities they serve.  We don’t do it for the glory – we do it because we care.”
Before and after the 3:43 p.m. toast, the first responders were entertained by members of the Orange County Firefighters Pipes & Drums who traveled throughout the Hudson Valley on Saturday to perform at several ceremonies.  “This is a big family that stands together through everything,” said Poughkeepsie FD Lieutenant Jimmy Brugger, who plays bagpipes in the group.
NYS Senator Sue Serino (R-Hyde Park) and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro were present for the toast.  The pair chose not to make any speeches, with Molinaro telling Mid Hudson News “This gathering is for our firefighters that lost friends on that tragic day, and continue to lose friends to related illnesses.  This isn’t about politics, it’s about remembrance.”  Senator Serino echoed Molinaro, saying “I am here to support these men and women while they mourn the losses of that day and the days since then.”
Lia Gatanis is the owner of Juan Murphy’s on Main Street in Arlington.  “The Arlington firefighters were strong supporters of Juan Murphy’s from day one.  Over time I have gotten to know the guys from the area departments and have learned about the quiet sacrifices they make.”  With more than 100 firefighters gathered in her place on Saturday, Gatanis said “Look around.  These people literally walk through the flames of hell and we give them a place to gather and unwind.  It’s the least we can do.”

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