Cover image for Bagpipe brothers : the FDNY Band's true story of tragedy, mourning, and recovery
Bagpipe brothers : the FDNY Band's true story of tragedy, mourning, and recovery
Sheridan, Kerry, 1973-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xi, 247 pages ; 24 cm
Irish fair -- The Brunton brothers -- September 11 -- Dawning of the day -- Funerals -- Discovery -- Laying to rest -- Thanksgiving -- End of the line -- Holiday -- Home turf -- Lost celebrations -- Closing ground zero.
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML421.F39 S54 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



After the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks, New York City's Emerald Society Bagpipe Band of firefighter-musicians took out their instruments and prepared to bury their dead--343 brothers in duty and in blood. Many firefighters alternated between playing their instruments at funerals and digging for the missing in the rubble of Ground Zero. The Irish American tradition of funeral bagpiping became the sound of mourning for an entire nation.

Bagpipe Brothers tells the unforgettable story of four firefighters in the band, who struggled to bring peace to their families and themselves while searching for the dead, coping with the endless round of funerals, and rethinking the meaning of faith. Their experiences illustrate the grief and recovery of the nation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

Kerry Sheridan has written the first book to cover the ordeal of the massive number of funerals, the importance of recovering bodies in Irish American culture, and the bagpiping ritual, both traditional and modern.

Author Notes

Kerry Sheridan was born and raised in an Irish American family in upstate New York. She has worked as a Middle Eastern correspondent in Cairo, Egypt, and has written for the San Francisco Chronicle and Irish American newspapers in New York and California. She has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Journalist Sheridan recounts with startling immediacy the events following the 9/11 terrorist attacks as they affected the Fire Department of New York's pipe and drum band. After setting the stage with the development of the Irish American bands since the early 1960s, providing some insight into firehouse culture and discussing several other fires, she weaves together the stories of disparate families and friends as they coped with the devastation of the 343 firefighters lost at the World Trade Center. The firefighters in the band were overextended as they played for as many as 19 memorial services in one day, all the while working at the recovery site and serving as surrogate parents to their fallen comrades' children or comforters to the widows. Sheridan's terse phrasing reflects her profession, and her own Irish background betrays a deep affection for the plight of those she is privileged to interview. The raw emotions and suspense fully involve the reader in this harrowing tale. Recommended for all libraries to sit alongside Dennis Smith's Report from Ground Zero and David Halberstam's Firehouse as a testament to the resilience and humanity of these brave souls. It will especially interest libraries in the New York area or collections on firefighting or bagpipe bands.-Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. IX
Prologuep. 1
Introduction: A Brief History of Bagpiping and the Irish Traditions of the New York City Fire Departmentp. 3
1 Irish Fairp. 20
2 The Brunton Brothersp. 41
3 September 11p. 50
4 Dawning of the Dayp. 75
5 The Funeralsp. 88
6 Discoveryp. 121
7 Laying to Restp. 138
8 Thanksgivingp. 152
9 End of the Linep. 162
10 Holidayp. 181
11 Home Turfp. 196
12 Lost Celebrationsp. 201
13 Closing Ground Zerop. 218
Epiloguep. 241
Notesp. 245