A 30-year-old firefighter who rushed to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, was memorialized Saturday at a Manhattan church in one of the last funerals for the 343 firefighters killed that day.
Hundreds of uniformed firefighters stood under an unforgiving June sun as an engine draped in black and purple bunting carried Keithroy M. Maynard’s remains to the Church of the Master. A pipe and drum corps played “Amazing Grace.”
Like other relatives of Sept. 11 victims, Maynard’s family held a memorial service two months after the attacks, but years more passed before his family felt that enough of his remains had been identified to hold a formal funeral, officials said.
First funeral in two years
The ceremony Saturday was the first funeral since 2003 for a firefighter killed at the World Trade Center.
It was prompted, in part, by a decision by city forensic investigators in February to end their efforts to identify remains collected from the Twin Towers rubble. More than 1,100 victims remain unidentified, but officials concluded they had exhausted all current DNA technology.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, attending the funeral on his daughter’s wedding day, was among the mourners who honored Maynard as a hero whose final gift to the city hasn’t faded with time.
“If there is any comfort to be taken,” Bloomberg said to Maynard’s mother, “perhaps it is that your son died doing what he loved.”
Maynard had been a firefighter for two years. His late father, Reynold White, was a New York City fire captain. His twin brother, Kevin Maynard, became a firefighter in Houston after his brother’s death. Another brother, Duane White, is a New York police officer.
“I carry his shield in my pocket,” White said. “He was one of the best people this city has ever had.”
Maynard is also survived by his mother, another brother, two sisters and a 10-year-old son, Keithroy Maynard II, who was 6 when his father died.
Maynard, a naturalized U.S. citizen, will be buried in Montserrat, a Caribbean island where he lived until he was 15.