2996 Project: 9/11 Tribute to Gerald T. Atwood



Gerald T. Atwood

Gerald T. Atwood was a member of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 1060 in Brooklyn, NY. He was a firefighter with Engine 34, Ladder 21. He was an eight year veteran of the FDNY working out of Hell’s Kitchen.

He grew up in the Old Mill Basin neighborhood of Brooklyn. He graduated from South Shore High School and spent two years at Kingsborough Community College. Earlier he ran a renovation business with his brother.

His wife Barbara said he possessed an infectious laugh. “He liked simple things, doing projects, sharing tools, helping neighbors with their houses. Or he’d go on trips with his brothers, fishing trips.” He had a wide range of interests and a retentive memory. “He’d read the paper and know everything in it, from politics to sports,” she said.

At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife Barbara, his son Gerald, 2, and his daughter Margaret, 1. Another child was as yet unborn at the time of his passing. Also surviving were his parents, Gerald and Elaine; brothers John, Raymond and Gregory, and sisters Jane and Elaine. (source Newsday.com)

It could be said that Gerald Atwood’s life ended on September 11, 2001.Gerald T. Atwood

I prefer to say that he continues to live and that his life continues.

His life is reflected by the way his children live their lives. Had he remained on earth to see his children grow and progress and become energetic, contributing members of society, it would be said of him “your children have learned what you lived.”

So can it be said still. It is not how we die that makes us heroic.

It is how we live.

As his children continue their lives, becoming good citizens, developing good character, serving others, reaching out to lend a hand, they reflect Gerald’s life.

It is not how we end our lives that make us worth remembering.

It is how we live.

As his wife develops the strength to rise from her grief, and console others when they mourn, or sit with a neighbor’s sick child so that another mother may rest, she reflects Gerald’s life of coming to the aid of others.

It is not how we end our days that make us great.

It is how we live.

Gerald’s tribute should not be that he left this mortal world on September 11, 2001. That he died in the service of others is a testament to his strength and service and love for his fellow man.

His tribute should be that those who love him and who live in mortality after him, lend their strength and service and reflect their love for their fellow man.

After all is said and done, it is not how or where we finish our journey that champions our greatness.

It is how we live.

Google “Gerald Atwood” “WTC”

Google “Gerald Atwood” “9/11”

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Posted on September 11, 2006, in News and politics. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hi there,
    I wrote about a brother of Gerald’s at Ladder 21, Gerard Duffy.

    You wrote a lovely tribute. Stop by my page and leave a comment so people can come here and read about another brave member of Ladder 21.



  2. Very nice tribute! I wrote one for one of the other firefighters on Ladder 21; Joseph Henry. Your words summed it up perfectly. Great job!


  3. YES! “I prefer to say that he continues to live and that his life continues.”

    Thank you for a beautiful tribute.

    Tribute to Christopher Paul Slattery

  4. Thanks you for sharing your tribute.

    –RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

  5. Hi Barbara,
    I was fortunate to be your nurse in post partum when your last 2 children were born. Hope you are well and your memories of Gerald bring joy to you and the children. Blessings!


  6. Today, I picked Gerald Atwood’s name at my church from 9-11 “not-forgotten”. I will pray for you and your three children like you are my sister. I was a paramedic on a 911 EMS crew for 18 years, my name is Barbara and I have three children, and I grew up with a best friend named Atwood. We do Remember! May God daily give you Peace and provision.

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