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City of Dust by Anthony DePalma

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7. It’s not the dying

Few New Yorkers asked the fundamental questions of 9/11’s aftermath—“Why me and not him?” or “Why him and not me?”—more often or with more apprehension than Marty and Dave Fullam. Both brothers were veterans of the FDNY on 9/11, and both had responded to the disaster; spent plenty of time on and around the pile; smelled the raw, penetrating, inescapable odor of burning flesh that they couldn’t shake for weeks afterward; and went back to their homes doused in fine gray grit that clung to every exposed inch of their skin except the moons around their eyes. Both thought nothing in this world was nobler than being part of the fire brotherhood.

One brother came out of the fire scarred but whole. The other nearly died and will ...

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