Brothers... on Holy Ground

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The most heart-wrenching story in this 9/11 documentary belongs to rookie fireman Tommy Casatelli from Engine Company 226. He wasn't feeling well on that fateful day, and asked to switch places with fellow firefighter Brian McAleese. Casatelli drove the engine to the World Trade Center after the first plane hit and, as a result, he didn't go into the building. McAleese went in instead and, along with three other men from the 226, never came out. Casatelli's sit-down interview for the documentary is riddled with survivor's guilt, though the man is never self-pitying. He talks frankly about how the job of the driver is to stay with the engine and how, left alone in the midst of a disaster well beyond his comprehension or experience, he struggled to decide whether to follow his orders or gear up and enter the building. One can see how his decision to follow orders—not out of cowardice, but out of duty—haunts him, as does the decision to switch places with Brian McAleese. The validation and assurances of McAleese's mother, widow, and brother John, a fireman from Engine Company 219, have brought Casatelli little comfort. His story is a reminder that, for some, the horror of that day hasn't receded with the passage of time. This a an award winning documentary from the FDNY perspective. It was shot in and around the site and fire houses shortly after the towers fell. This video was inspired by a retired NY fire fighter who was able to talk to his brother fire fighters like no one else could. 10 years on since 9/11 and this documentary brings home the hero first responders story.  

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