“Gary Paul Geidel (December 11, 1956 – September 11, 2001) was a New York City Fire Department firefighter killed during the September 11 attacks shortly before scheduled retirement. His brother Ralph Geidel, also a firefighter, helped in the 9/11 rescue effort as well and around 2014 died of complications attributed to toxins he inhaled at the scene.” Wikipedia
I did not know Gary personally, I did not know his family, I painted this for a friend’s mother who knew Gary’s mom very well.
My father’s cousin’s husband was in one of the towers – he didn’t work there – he’d been there only for an interview – on 9/11 his story changed to past tense
“A husband and father, as he did every morning, kissing his wife and daughter before driving to Rescue 1’s firehouse on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. And his unusual decision to stop as he walked to his van on Sept. 11, 2001, and return to kiss them one more time.”
“I’m saying to myself, he survived. He was a Marine, he was a Boy Scout (and) he was a rescue guy,” Tillie Geidel said. “If anybody could survive, he could survive.”
– Leonard Sparks for the Times Herald-Record, September 11, 2016
portrait of Gary Geidel, Rescue 1 – painted this for his mom in 2001
For Americans, September 11th has become a day of remembrance. On this day we remember the fallen, the injured, the loss, the lessons, the heartbreak, the world…
On that pristine, cloudless day in 2001, the New York skyline was blackened. Americans were shocked by tragedy. What happened afterward was nothing short of spectacular. The indomitable American spirit rose up like a phoenix. We grieved long, then we rebuilt the fallen stone.
After 9/11 many of us looked for ways to help out. I painted hundreds of beach pebbles then planted myself in front of the local grocery store. I collected over $1,200 selling rocks for $1, but many teary-eyed people donated much more. We look back and still weep.
The money was given to FDNY Rescue 1 – they’d lost half their company, eleven men.
The portrait below is of FDNY Rescue 1, Firefighter Gary Geidel (44 years of age), who was lost on 9/11/2001. I painted this for his mother.
There are many parts of the world that can’t look back, their lands are still war zones. I pray for worldwide peace. It is very, very difficult…but not impossible.
Thank you. May you too, dream of world wide peace…