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9/11: MEMORIUM

I dedicate this thread and my prayers to the honor of all those who lost their lives, and in sympathy with their loved ones.

I especially remember and honor Joseph Angelini, Sr., in this tribute to the victims of 9/11.

Joseph Angelini, Sr.

Joseph Angelini, Sr. was a fireman with New York City’s Rescue 01 who lost his life in the World Trade Center collapse, as did his son, Joseph Angelini, Jr., also a fireman in New York City, with Ladder Co. No. 4.

Three things were important to my father: (Joseph Angelini, Sr.) his family, the church and the department, and I’m not sure in what order. My father was honest to a fault, religious. I remember walking back from the store with him. I was only little. He realized that the counter girl had given him 30 cents too much in change, and we had to walk all the way back. I mean, it was almost ridiculous. Joey (Joseph Angelin, Jr.) was becoming more like that. It was good to watch, but it’s hard to live up to.”

The elder Angelini was in special operations that morning, and Michael (another son of Joseph Angelini, Sr.’s) hoped he too might have been sent elsewhere, but he really knew better. His father was legendary in the department for loving the work, for loving “to get dirty,” for loving “making a grab (rescuing somebody),” for routinely walking out of a mostly extinguished inferno and lighting a cigarette while younger firefighters lay sprawled around him, exhausted.

Earlier this year, at a Holy Name Society communion breakfast tribute for his 40th anniversary as a firefighter, the short, wiry, gray-haired Angelini resisted efforts by his fellow firefighters to get him to wear more of his medals. “They convinced him to put on maybe a third of them,” Michael said. “Then he said, ‘Stop. I’m tired of pinning these on.'”

“He kept them in the back of a drawer, in a box,” Michael said. “He didn’t tell us about half of them. He didn’t talk about what he did. You would be eating dinner across from him and notice that he looked different, like, strange, and then you would realize that his face was all red, and his eyebrows were completely gone, and his hairline had receded. He was burned. You would say, “What happened to you?’ And he would say, ‘Aw, something flashed over me.’


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