Cross-posted at DailyKos.
At 11:30 yesterday morning on the corner of Greene St. and Washington Pl. I met Firefighter James M. Sorokac for the first time. I’d never met him before but being the keeper of “The Last Alarm” and a member of the of the FDNY ceremonial unit, his face was far too familiar to me.
In the shadow of the Asch Building he explained that the bell that is rang for the fallen dates back to a time when there was one bell at every NYC fire house. He told me the story of the four fives. When firehouses would communicate to each other across the city by ringing five times in a series of four the message that “a brother has fallen in the line of duty.”
Today that bell is rang once by a white gloved firefighter at funerals and memorial services.
Yesterday Firefighter James M. Sorokac rang that bell 146 times.