July Fourth Traditionalist
Daniel Gallagher, born on the Fourth of July, was a fixture as the friendly burger flipper at summer barbecues. Last year on the Fourth, when he turned 23, friends went to his house to help celebrate, walking the block from his home in Red Bank, N.J., to see the fireworks reflected in the Navesink River.
He spent his last weekend with his large family — 30 people in a couple of houses in Manasquan. They all stood on the steps for a photo, waiting for Mr. Gallagher, who emerged freshly showered, his arms up like Rocky after running up those steps, said his aunt Bernadette McDonnell, whom he called Aunt Bunny. He stayed late on that Sunday, throwing a whiffle ball on the beach with his cousins. One of them, Christopher McDonnell, told Mrs. McDonnell later, "You know, Ma, God gift-wrapped that weekend for our family."
Mr. Gallagher would stay up late studying for licensing exams, but was on the ferry before 6 every morning to get to his office at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he worked for the international bond desk.
"Now," Mrs. McDonnell said, "I'm thinking, like Christopher says, all we have to do is try to get through the Fourth of July, you know, that first year, and then hopefully heal a little."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on April 7, 2002.