We come here today for a solemn purpose, common purpose. We’re all united in grief – all of New York City, all of the members of the FDNY, all of Chief Michael Fahy’s friends, and especially his family. We are united with you.
We’re here for you, Fiona, and your beautiful children. And we’re here for you, Thomas and Mary, who raised Michael so well. We’re here for Michael’s siblings who grew up beside him, learned with him, taught him. We’re here for each other in this time of grief.
We thank Cardinal Dolan, Father Keenan, Father Tierney, we thank everyone at Annunciation for giving us this chance to join together to comfort each other.
We want to thank today all the men and women of the FDNY who have come here today to offer their respects, and we thank them for protecting us every day.
For a mayor, there is no more solemn duty than to offer our city’s condolences. I offer them to all gathered here today particularly to the family of a fallen hero – because we must understand Michael J. Fahy was a hero.
His chosen work – his life’s work was to protect others, to risk his life, and that was true day-in and day-out. It did not matter what the day brought, his commitment was the same – true of all who choose to put on the uniform, and serve, to be there for the rest of us.
Michael was one of those people who provided a foundation for everything good in our society, and that was the glue to hold us together because he was someone we could look up to everyday.
And what’s so important for us to remember is the choice he made – he expressed that simply and profoundly in a letter he wrote in 1999. At that point, he was a young lawyer. And at that point in his life with all sorts of success ahead, all who know him speak about his talent, his intelligence. There was certainly plenty of opportunity ahead. He could have become wealthy but he felt a different calling. And he wrote in that letter –
“While I enjoyed the study of law I feel that I need a career with a higher, more honorable purpose. I would like to be a New York City Firefighter.”
Those are not just words for Michael, he lived those ideals, he lived up to that vision of a higher, more honorable purpose, and he gave his life for it.
I want to take a moment to speak directly to Michael's children. Cormac, Anna, Michael – I want you to know that we have a few things in common. My father also wore a uniform. He served in the US Army.
Just like you I lost my dad when I was young. I was only just a teenager. But I knew that my father was a hero. And I want you to know that you will carry that knowledge with you every day of your lives. When you’re grown up, decades from now, good times and bad, you will be able to rely on that knowledge that not only was your father a good man, he was a hero.
And it will strengthen you. It may feel hard to believe that now but it will strengthen you. We all will be strengthened by Michael’s example.
When we think of him it will remind us of how good we can be if we follow the highest ideals. Therefore Michael will be a presence in all of our lives. His service to his family, to his city, to his country will never end because it will help us live better lives, to serve others more profoundly.
On behalf of eight-and-a-half million New Yorkers, I offer my deepest condolences to the Fahy family, to the FDNY, to all those who knew and loved Michael so much.
God bless you all.