Middle Village’s James Bohan, a Fire Dept. Hero was laid to rest with full honors.

On the day before his death he and other firemen distributed toys at Brookdale hospital.

The Lord Said: “No greater love can a man have than to lay down his life for another.”

It was a rather mild unseasonable Fall and the flowering plants and bushes were confused but continued to produce colorful products. This thought ran through my mind on that dismal, breezy afternoon at St. Mary’s Cemetery on December 22. Whispering in my wife’s ear I uttered, “Barbara, we just buried the last Rose of Summer”. So it was that James Bohan, a Fire Dept. hero was laid to rest with full honors.

As Monsignor Varvaro related so eloquently at the funeral mass “James has completed his mission here on Earth, he was perfect in God’s plan.”

James did not just evolve to be perfect at age 25. He was nurtured, chiseled, guided to “perfection” by a loving family. Margaret and John the parents, Maurice the older brother, Audrey Frilic his fiancee, and a host of caring relatives and friends molded this fine young man.

Observing the Bohan family closely during the arduous days of the wake and funeral gave others the strength to continue. Their solid, unnerving deep faith was an inspiration to everyone involved in the tragedy. God in his infinite wisdom embodied this strength into the bosom of his mom and dad.

James was always in good company attending St. Margaret’s Elementary School and St. Francis Prep. Playing ball at Juniper Valley Park all the while touching people in a special way. Declan Grant, fireman friend said, “You only had to know James for ten minutes and he was your friend for life.”

Pleasing children made James the happiest, always packing his famous costumes and toys to entertain the little ones. This past Memorial Day James attended the Irish festival at East Durham. After paying his admission he turned to a balloon vendor and bought him out. He then asked his friends to help him distribute the 95 balloons to the children. On the day before his death he and other firemen distributed toys at Brookdale hospital. The same hospital that ironically pronounced his death.

The word Love has many meanings and is defined differently by everyone. James learned early on that “his love” was unrelenting, an ardent personal affection to God, country, family and friends. He had no greater friend than Roger Rudzewick. Roger relates their final conversation; “The last thing he said, as usual was that he loved me. He always did that. I told him I loved him, and that’s it.”

He and James were inseparable and both had an early desire to be firefighters. They studied and trained together, received high marks and graduated from the Fire Academy six months apart. Telling fire stories was a favorite pastime and James often related to Roger that he wanted to be the best, rescue someone, be a hero. On the tenth floor of a smokey complex in Starrett City, Brooklyn, Lt. Cavalieri, Fireman Christopher Bopp and James met their fate searching for a woman believed trapped in her apartment.

Truly Heroes. The Lord Said:“No greater love can a man have than to lay down his life for another.”

As we approach the millennium, remember James, his comrades and all the men and women in uniform in your prayers.

“Play the drums slowly, Play the pipes softly.”