L-5 members participate in 9-11 memorial

While his father, L-5 shop steward George Lonergan, gives a 9-11 memorial address, L-5’s Brian Lonergan presents the colors on a 300-foot stack at a job site at the New York Harbor in Astoria, N.Y.

Father and son team address 500 union workers at New York construction site

GEORGE LONERGAN JR. is a 34-year member of Local 5 (New York), and a battalion chief for the New York Fire Department. He and his son, Brian, who has been a Local 5 member since 2002, participated in a memorial tribute to 9-11 with 500 union workers at a construction site at the New York Harbor in Astoria, N.Y., on Friday, Sept. 10. While George gave a stirring speech, Brian presented the colors atop a 300-ft. stack at the site.

The tribute recalled the Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaeda suicide attacks on U.S. soil. The morning of the attack, George had put away his Boilermaker tools at the Far Rockaway Powerhouse to go back to his other job as battalion chief. At the end of the day, he was one of the few chiefs to survive the rescue efforts. In all, the FDNY lost 22 chiefs, 343 firefighters, and many members of the rescue and hazmat squads as a result of the terrorist attack.

Following the attack, George worked for the fire department as a coordinator of construction worker tactics. For 23 days and nights, he worked with building trades members searching for survivors in the rubble.

“The overwhelming response by the union construction workers with their tools and equipment was vital to the rescue efforts,” George said. “Boilermakers joined the rescue with their steel-burning and rigging skills. Under my command, construction workers took on what was referred to as pile 1 — the World Trade Center South Tower and the Vista Hotel. The FDNY and people of New York should always remember the immediate call to action by these brave trades people.”

George’s son, Brian, a college student at the time, was surfing the morning of the attack. “It was a cloudless day and the waves were very high,” Brian recounted. “It was a great day to surf until I saw the heavy clouds of smoke coming from the trade center. I knew then that something terrible had happened.”

The event moved Brian so much that he now volunteers with his hometown fire department in Island Park, N.Y.

George’s 9-11 tribute follows:

Today we stand together to honor and remember
Our 4,000 fellow Americans who were murdered nine years ago.
We remember the attack on the World Trade Center,
Tower 1, Tower 2, the Pentagon, Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

Today we stand together to honor and remember
The 62 construction trades people who died.
Many of them, stayed to help others:
Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, Painters, Steam Fitters,
Laborers, and Elevator Operators.

Let us remember and honor the two wire lathers on Flight 93
Who answered the call, "Let's Roll," and saved our nation’s capitol.

Today we stand together to honor and remember
The thousands of American soldiers who have made the ultimate supreme sacrifice,
The tens of thousands of American soldiers who are casualties,
And we honor every one of their families.

Today we stand together to honor and remember
The New York union construction workers who stopped their work,
Picked up their tools, and walked to Ground Zero for the rescue effort.

Today we stand together to honor and remember
The dozens of brothers and sisters who have died
And the hundreds who suffer lung ailments from the toxic air.

Today we say,
God bless you, God bless your families, God bless America.