2001: Hardhat

Larry Keating's Hardhat

Larry Keating’s hardhat. Keating, a member of Iron Workers Local 40, was a foreman during the cleanup of of wreckage and debris from the World Trade Center following 9/11. (source)

The men — Larry Keating, Danny Doyle, Mike Emerson and Bobby Graves — are veteran ironworkers in Local 40. They were at ground zero ”from the first day to the last day,” as they proudly describe it, working closely with firefighters, cutting steel and picking through wreckage for human remains. It was devastating work, and the four men say they got through their long, grueling shifts by banding together and talking each other through the horror.

”It’s over, but it’s not over,” Mr. Keating said. ”You were working in a graveyard and saw a lot of stuff you weren’t meant to see, and a lot of it still lingers. We talked each other all the way through the cleanup, and we’re still doing it.”

”Now that the cleanup’s over, a lot of guys have gone off the deep end,” [said Brian Lyons, a site supervisor at ground zero]. ”When you were working down there, you had responsibility and pride. You could do something about the tragedy. But when the job was over, and we laid the guys off, some took it very hard and couldn’t stop coming back to the site. Some had to be escorted off the property. They kept showing up like they were lost. Some of them wanted to work for nothing. You had to snap them into reality and say: ‘The job’s over. Go home.'” (source)

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