A soft-spoken former seminarian, he relays what he thought, saw and did that day without swagger or mawkishness, even during gut-punch moments ... confronting his own trauma requires him to excavate his past, how he shifted his call to a life of service from the Roman Catholic Church to the firehouse, how he met his wife and moved up the ranks at the Fire Department, and his close relationship with his brother, whose remains were eventually found. Along the way, one feels Pfeifer learning the words to express the spiritual, professional and personal crises 9/11 caused him ... At times he pulls punches that would land with meaning if delivered by someone with his integrity ... Pfeifer’s record of that day and its aftermath surely enters the canon as one of the necessary documents of 9/11. But it’s his inclusive sense of public service, one that values the heroism of those who do ordinary things in extraordinary times, that makes Ordinary Heroes a book for today.
Pfeifer recounts the horrific day as he narrowly escapes the collapse of the North Tower. The terror and confusion is palpable as he writes of making it back to the station and attempting to account for his brethren. Noteworthy for its straightforwardness, Pfeifer’s memoir is painful, yet powerful.