Band of Dads
Ed Sweeney
September 11, 2001

Ed Sweeney
Retired FDNY Captain Ed Sweeney is yet another example of the way a father should love his son. When he speaks of his fallen FDNY son Brian, he does not hide the pain he feels at having lost his son well before his time. After a few minutes of hearing Ed describe his son and also seeing the uncanny resemblance between the two, I felt as though Brian was there with us. While Brian, a fireman with Rescue 1, was on his way toward the burning Towers, Ed was walking on Jones Beach, enjoying his retirement. When he heard that the Towers had been attacked, he ran back home to find out the latest. After spending the day trying to track his son's location, he came up with no answers. Unknown to Ed at the time, a film crew had taped Brian looking up at the Towers before he made his way into his last fire. Ed had no chance to see his son or to say goodbye. After months of looking for his son at Ground Zero and coming up empty handed, Ed and his family decided it was best to take some pressure off the situation by having a memorial for Brian. It was November 26th and Brian's memorial would be the next day. Everyone was preparing and relatives flew in to pay their respects. It was 4:45PM and Ed's relatives had just arrived from the airport, when the phone rang. It was Captain Murphy from Engine 288.

A fallen fireman from Rescue1 had been found at Ground Zero and they thought it may be Brian. However, with no dental records, it was hard to make a positive ID. Ed temporarily dropped the phone in shock and then composed himself. Ed thought to himself for a minute and that's when he remembered the Eagle--A large tattoo of an Eagle was on Brian's back and that could ID him. A check was done and it was indeed Brian Sweeney. The memorial was turned into a funeral, and two days later his son was laid to rest. Here, Ed looks down at a photo of Brian looking up at the inferno in his last moments before he would attempt to rescue the trapped civilians in the South Tower. The inference of his son looking up at him made Ed emotional, as well it did I. I had worked with the fathers at Ground Zero for many months and engaged in small talk on our breaks, but the shoots made us become closer friends. Before Ed Sweeney left our shoot, he said to me, "The civilians were heroes in their own right for going to work that day. The FDNY went to work also but went above and beyond to help their fellow man and are true patriots."

Ed has set up a memorial charity in his son's name, the Brian E. Sweeney Memorial Fund. I sell autographed Ground Zero Museum Posters on this website to benefit this fund. You may view them by clicking here.


| introduction | contact | home |

| photos in order of occurrence | epilogue |

Gary Suson, Photographer
420 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10014
Studio: 212-802-7197

Copyright 2000 Gary Suson, Inc. All Rights Reserved.