More firefighters were lost from the Maspeth firehouse in the attacks at September 11 than any other firehouse in the city.
Squad 288 firefighter Kevin Kubler switched shifts that Tuesday morning, and was training a client at his gym when he remembered his fellow firefighter knocking on his window on his way in to work.
“He was an old Vietnam vet, and he said, ‘those bastards are bombing us,’” Kubler recalled. “There’s no, ‘what happens,’ when you become a fireman. When something happens, you go.”
He ran to the firehouse, loaded up a truck and headed straight to the World Trade Center. The second building of at the World Trade Center site collapsed while they were stuck in traffic.
Kubler and dozens of other firefighters from the unit gathered at Maspeth Memorial Park, at 69th Street and Grand Avenue, to remember their friends and family, several of whom ran off during the ceremony to respond to a call.
“This job is the closest thing to being a superhero you can find,” Kubler said. “Most guys know going in, that that’s the job. Same thing with the guys that got killed here.”
Ken Rudzewick, president of Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, hosted the ceremonies, which included speeches from elected officials, St. Matthias Church's Rev. Msgr. Peter Zendzian, and performances by Bill and Liz Huisman.
The Huismans performed for nearly 2,000 at the first memorial ceremony just days following the attacks.
“Maspeth is an unusual town,” Rudzewick said. “It’s a small slice of Middle America and the people that live here keep it that way, and we’re just privileged to be among them and be a part of them.”
Friends and family members gathered around the 9/11 Monument in Maspeth Memorial Park, placing an American flag at the foot of the structure to remember their fallen firefighters as each name was read.
“Maspeth is a very patriotic and caring community,” Assemblywoman Marge Markey said. “We’re very thankful for the firefighters who are here and we appreciate the sacrifice the families made losing their loved ones on 9/11.”