May 30, 2002
"How will we ever get through this?" is the question I asked on the night of September 11.
Maybe the answer is here, all around me. Not just in the cleanup, not just in the purpose demonstrated by all who came and labored in these months.
The answer is in the enduring spirits of all assembled here. That, for me, is the miracle in all of this: having looked horror in the face, we bear the pain without losing heart.
-- Thomas Von Essen
Thomas Von Essen served as the Thirtieth Fire Commissioner of New York City from April 1996 to December 31, 2001. Before becoming fire commissioner, he spent nearly three years as president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the largest firefighters union in the nation. Von Essen joined the fire department in 1970 and was assigned to Ladder 42 in the Bronx, where he spent most of his firefighting career. Currently, Von Essen is a senior vice president at Giuliani Partners LLC, a New York consulting firm headed by former mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Rita.
In Cracks in My Heart, she shares her story of serving more than forty years as a firefighter, EMT, and paramedic. Hinch offers insight into the lives of men and women emergency first responders who witness mind-numbing ugly things, horrid human behavior, and rarely a kind act or beautiful ending.
From fires to train accidents to suicides and disorderly activities, Cracks in My Heart details some of the events and adventures Hinch experienced while serving her town as a volunteer. She discusses the sacrifices, the tragedies, the rewards, and the people she met on duty, describing why she often gave her heart to strangers.
Over the past 10 years the Marylebone Journal has printed historical essays on the people, places, and events that have helped shape the character of the area. Some are commemorated with a blue plaque, but many are not. This is not a check-list of the grandees of Marylebone, though plenty appear in these pages.
The essays have been grouped into themes of: history, politicians and warriors, culture and sport (from pop music and television to high art), love and marriage (stories from romance to acrimonious divorce), criminals, science and medicine, buildings and places, and the mad bad and dangerous to know ‒ those whose stories don't fit a convenient box but are too good not to tell.
This is Smith’s vivid account of the rescue efforts by the fire and police departments and emergency medical teams as they rushed to face a disaster that would claim thousands of lives. Smith takes readers inside the minds and lives of the rescuers at Ground Zero as he shares stories about these heroic individuals and the effect their loss had on their families and their companies. “It is,” says Smith, “the real and living history of the worst day in America since Pearl Harbor.” Written with drama and urgency, Report from Ground Zero honors the men and women who—in America’s darkest hours—redefined our understanding of courage.