Firefighter Lawrence Veling, a 15-year veteran of the FDNY, was the senior man on duty Sept. 11th at Engine Co. 235 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Larry Veling was one of six men on the truck when it left the fire station. Radio reports said the Brooklyn Bridge was clear, but Engine 235 turned onto the Manhattan Bridge when the driver realized that the span was all but void of traffic. They made excellent time getting to the towers.
As the first plane struck, Veling understood the enormity of the situation. So, as he waited for the inevitable call to the scene, he tried, in his calm, level way, to prepare the younger firefighters for the danger they would face.
"His leadership role shined through that day," said Lt. John Cullen of Engine 235.
Veling told the crew to stay together because it was the kind of horrible fire where firefighters get hurt, Cullen said.
Veling, 44, was one of six firefighters from Engine 235 to die that day, Mayor Giuliani said at the service at the Resurrection Church in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn.
The mayor looked at Veling's wife, Diane, and their three children, Ryan, 8, Cynthia, 6, and Kevin, 3, when he said "Lawrence was part of a very proud firehouse from Brooklyn that made a very great sacrifice."
Larry wasn't just a firefighter. He was a son, a brother, a husband, a best friend and a father.
When his son was two he discovered he had a talent for drawing Blues Clues characters . Larry would do the chalk drawings on the sidewalk in front of the house and even the neighbors would gather and admire his talent for capturing the likenesses of Blue and his friends. Larry co-owned Steve & Larry's a neighborhood delicatessen which was a very popular stop with all the locals.
In the spring following September 11th there was a dedication ceremony of the baseball field and it was named 'Larry Veling Memorial Field,' after one of FDNY bravest of Engine Co. 235. Larry, a father of three, was active in the Gerritsen Beach Little League as a player and coach. He also coached girls softball. There was a plaque placed in the memorial garden at the field in memory of several people from the community whose lives were lost along with Larry's in the Sept. 11 tragedy.
Bravest hearts of purest courage
In the fear and in the flames.
Noble heroes to be honoured
In our memories carve their names.
Who could run into such danger
When life's sweet and love is true?
Who could die to save a stranger?
Who could live as heroes do?