I drove out to Merrick on Saturday for the Nassau County Firefighters Parade & Drill, an annual competition for all of the fire departments in Nassau County in drills and parade performance. The traffic was at a crawl on Sunrise because of all the firefighters assembling to march so I got there late. I stood at the curb and held my hand over my heart each time the American Flag passed. I was happy I got to see my home-town Lynbrook Firefighters, and I hope they saw me as a familiar face in crowd, wishing them the best of luck. There had to be close to 700 firefighters and hundreds of trucks. I was there several hours and said hello to many firefighters, and it was an all-round great event-- including great patriotic music played by bugle and bagpipe bands. One person I got to speak to was Tom Fehling. The Wantagh Bagpipers started in remembrance of his brother Lee Fehling, who died as a firefighter in 9/11. I embraced him because I could tell he still hurts from losing his brother. He thanked me for the "hug." His brother's name is still written on the bass drum. Whenever someone mentions 9/11, it all comes back: the horror, the sadness, and the memories of the 30 or so memorial services I attended to show my support for the families of those we lost. Some families only had body parts to honor....and some didn't even have body parts. I cannot even begin to imagine the grief felt by families like the Fehling's. No one in the country can ever truly know what we experienced here in the metropolitan area. Firefighters, we salute you!