NEW YORK’S oldest Irish pub has paid a poignant tribute to the lives lost during the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center.
Traditionally, McSorley’s Old Ale House has marked September 11th in the company of the New York City Fire Department and countless fireman from across the US and much of the wider world.
Together, they would raise a glass in the spirit of brotherhood and in remembrance of all those lost in the terrorist attacks.
Not just the people who died in the twin towers but the first responders who gave their lives trying to save others.
At 3:43pm – a reference to the 343 firefighters who died that day – firefighter Richie Schmidt would deliver a speech to those assembled at McSorley’s.
A tradition first established by Matty Maher, the late owner of McSorley’s, Matty’s daughter Teresa de la Haba had hoped to continue with the practice in 2020.
It would have served as a tribute to her late father, who died of lung cancer aged 80 early this year.
However, the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions that have followed prevented Teresa from bringing Richie and New York’s firefighter family together again at McSorley’s.
Despite this, she was still able to take to Facebook to pay tribute to those lost in the line of duty.
“September 11th is a special day for all of us at McSorley’s,” Teresa wrote in an emotional post.
“A day we take great pride in sharing with the FDNY and the countless Firemen we’ve met over the years from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami-Dade, Toronto, and even as far away as Australia.
“They all come to the city and to 15 East 7th street to share in the spirit of the Brotherhood —and to Never Forget.
“This year, unfortunately, will be different. We won’t be able to serve everyone who comes by, we won’t be having our bagpipes and drums and we won’t be having Richie Schmidt from Rescue 4 give his annual speech at 3:43.”
“We will however post a video of our dear friend, Richie, tomorrow at 3:43 pm sharp, to keep this special tradition of REMEMBERING and GRATITUDE going.
“And you can bet that next year, when this madness has passed, we’ll close the entire street to do a proper 20th Anniversary for 9/11. And invite all of you to join us.”
She signed off by imploring the public to follow the social distancing guidelines.
McSorley’s then went on to share a clip of fireman Richie Schmidt delivering his own solemn tribute.
Richie’s speech saw the firefighter hero offer hope for the future.
“McSorley’s has been around since 1854,” he began.
“They were around 64 years before the first pandemic of 1918 and they got through that and we’re going to get through this as New Yorkers and as Americans.”
“This year started on a rough note when Matty Maher passed away in January,” he continued.
“We’d liked to pay our respects to the McSorley family for the lost of your father, the proprietor for many years. He had a vision for what McSorley’s should be. And thank God he did.”
He continues: “We had the tradition of meeting here at McSorley’s and remembering the brothers that were lost here on the 11th. We do that because McSorley’s has been around for so long. It’s a part of New York.”
“We acknowledge not just our brothers but all of the people that were lost that day, especially the first responders.”
While Schmidt spent the afternoon in St Patrick’s Cathedral “because this city needs a little prayer” he finished his tribute with a promise for the future.
“Next year will be the 20th anniversary…next year, we will do it the right way.”