Peter Brennan always wanted to be a firefighter.
Even as a young man, he had a strong character. In 2006, Angelo Guerrero remembered Peter's boyhood days:
I fondly remember coaching you and my son together with your father Vincent at St John's Greek Orthodox Church in Blue Point during your Goya days. Those days I will never forget. I am sure God have you by his side for you were always a good son.
In terms of protecting the public, Peter Brennan was a triple threat: at various times in his life, he was a volunteer firefighter, a New York City police officer, and finally a New York City firefighter. When he was a cop, he rescued an elderly couple from an apartment fire; another day, off duty and in street clothes, he rescued three trapped volunteer firefighters.
On September 11, 2001, he was filling in for a vacationing colleague in FDNY's elite Rescue Unit 4. He died in the World Trade Center. He was 30 years old.
His wife, Erica Brennan, had this to say:
He died doing what he loved at probably the greatest fire he'd ever been to. I can see him on the truck being excited on the way.
Erica has a card from a library book at Peter's old elementary school. The card, with Peter's name on it, is from the book I Want to Be a Fireman.
He lived his life every day to save complete strangers from harm, and in the end his presence was a comfort to those in the World Trade Center. His entire life had been leading him toward that awful day, and although his last moments are lost in the dust, I am certain that his valor was complete. They killed the man, but they did not extinguish his honor or his sacrifice. I am humbled by his example.