Thursday, September 11, 2008

Revisiting September 11th...Remembering Dennis O'Berg

Again this year, I thought I would re-post my contribution to a memorial project that was initiated for the fifth anniverary of 9/11 in 2006 to post memorial tributes to all of those lost in the terrorist attacks on our country on blogs across the internet. On this day, I remember all those whose lives were lost that day, all those who have lost their lives fighting this war on terror, and Dennis O'Berg, who I wrote a tribute to for that project.


At 494 Dean Street in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn stands the building housing Engine Company 219 and Ladder Company 105. The two companies have shared that building since 1977. Prior to 1977, they were located in separate houses, about ½ mile away from each other. Ladder 105 has its roots in a volunteer company, Ladder 5, from the Greenport section of Brooklyn that was organized in the latter half of the 19th century. After spending time as Ladder 5 of the Brooklyn Fire Department, Ladder 5 of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), and Ladder 55 of the FDNY, Ladder 105 was organized on January 1, 1913 as a part of the FDNY.

One member of Ladder 105 who was lost on September 11th after responding to the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site was Dennis O’Berg. Dennis was 28 years old at the time of his death. He was a resident of Babylon, on Long Island, where he lived with his wife of less than one year, Christine. Their first wedding anniversary would have been September 28, 2001.

Dennis didn’t always plan to be a firefighter. He graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo with a degree in accounting and worked for the Big 4 accountancy firm Ernst & Young after graduation. However, he followed his father’s footsteps as a firefighter, entering the academy because he felt shackled to his accountant position. He graduated from the academy not long before the September 11th attacks and was assigned to Ladder 105. Being a firefighter changed him into a happy and smiling and easygoing person. On September 11th, he had been a firefighter for only seven and a half months.

Dennis’s remains were not found in the wreckage at Ground Zero, and his family held out hope that something would be found so that they could plan his funeral. After only his helmet, his jacket, and one of his boots was found, Dennis’s family held a memorial service for him on June 28, 2002, burying an empty casket. Dennis’s father, Lt. Dennis O’Berg., retired from the FDNY on September 11th to dedicate himself to finding his son. However, when all the wreckage had been cleared, it was not to be so.

Family and friends remember Dennis as someone who was young at heart. He was a fan of Harry Potter, Norman Rockwell, Star Wars, and the New York Rangers. He collected baseball cards and enjoyed all kinds of music. He was a romantic and often gave his wife roses for no particular reason, took her on long drives and picnics on the North Shore, and left her notes telling her that he loved her. She found one of those notes in her bed the evening before September 11th as she was preparing to retire for the night. His dream was to be there as a husband and father for his wife and kids and to raise a family on Long Island. He never got to fulfill that dream. Instead, his life was cut short by the terrorists who attacked America on September 11th.

Dennis P. O’Berg. Forever in the thoughts of his friends and family. And now, forever in my thoughts as well.

To learn more and pay tribute to other heroes lost to us on September 11, 2001, please visit the 2,996.


Gretchen said...

The day was truly a nightmare that nobody will ever forget. Many of us saw it live on tv or worse, in person.

Thank you for remembering one of those innocents who were murdered because a madman wants to rule the world.

Teena in Toronto said...

Thank you for your tribute!

I posted one too.

Gunngirl said...

This was both depressing and uplifting. I can't stand when nice guy like that dies so young and others with worthless lives who make other people miserable live on and on. I teared up when just his jacket and one boot was found. How was that? So sad.

Ruthi said...

~We didn't know Dennis personally, but we did know his parents, Dennis & Dot, who were customers of my husband here at the Jersey Shore...even though we didn't know Dennis, we felt as though we did, through his Dad, who is an Amazing person...Every year at this time, we think of Dennis & Dot continuously feeling their pain with them. Thank you for taking the time for choosing Dennis, he certainly was a unique man, and will certainly never ever be forgotten, as well as all the others who gave all that sad day...9/11/01 The Day The Country Cried Together~

Sylvia said...

My husband will be climbing in honor of Dennis in the Kansas City Memorial Stair-climb on 9/11/2011. Thank you for this information. It helps him feel more connected to his FD brother in honoring his memory and what he went through that day.

Erin said...

Thank you for your beautiful tribute to Dennis. He was our friend who will always live on in our memory. I'm glad I came across your blog.