Filmmaker Steve McCarthy explores the meaning of heroism by discovering the life of his friend, Captain Paddy Brown, NYC’s most decorated fireman who died on 9/11. McCarthy starts with Brown’s incredible acts of heroism, saving people from flames, breathing life into fire victims. Eventually, McCarthy finds a more complicated subtext: Brown’s childhood in an alcoholic home, his abuse by priests, his traumatic tour of duty as a Marine in Vietnam, his string of lovers. Paddy emerges as a classic hero—one profoundly flawed and driven to acts of bravery by complex motives, including a drive for penance, self-destruction, and the creation of his own legacy. Ultimately, Captain Brown seeks inner peace and in the course of that quest touches innumerable lives. At his moment of redemption, he climbs the stairs of the North Tower and dies comforting burn victims on an upper floor.
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