On the 18th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks, it’s all but impossible to find anything good to have come from that horrible day in American history and our collective memories. But for a group of New Yorkers for whom the tragedy literally hit home, they have no memory of it, only stories of a father who was a first responder but didn’t come back that day.
Such is the case for a special group of cadets in the class of New York Fire Department graduating in two weeks. It is made up of thirteen “legacy” probationary firefighters whose fathers were killed at Ground Zero, the son of and NYPD officer killed, and sons of two firefighters who have since died of 9/11 related illnesses. The sixteen men and women making up the historic class at the Fire Academy are the most legacies in one class (there have been dozens more) since 2001.
From an article in the New York Post,
“Bravery runs in these extraordinary families who have sacrificed so much for our city. I’m proud of the commitment these probies have already demonstrated to the department and look forward to celebrating with them at their graduation,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “I think it’s a great tribute to their dads,” said Gerard Fitzgerald, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. “It’s quite inspirational to hear that they’re following in their fathers’ footsteps.”
- Anthony and Leonard Ragaglia, son of Leonard Ragaglia
- Marc Asaro, son of Carl Asaro, Midtown’s Engine 54/Ladder 4
- Matthew Jovic, son of Lt. Anthony Jovic, of Engine Co. 279, Brooklyn
- Peter J. Carroll, son of Peter Carroll, FDNY Squad 1, Brooklyn
- Scott B. Larsen, son of Scott Andrew Larsen‚ Ladder 163, Queens
- Gregory Kumpel, son of Kenneth B. Kumpel, Ladder Co. 25, Manhattan
- Brendan Regan, son of Lt. Rober Regan, Engine 205/Ladder 118, Brooklyn
- John C. Fischer, son of Capt. John R. Fischer, Ladder 20, SoHo
- Manny Mojica, son of Manuel Mojica Jr.‚ Squad 18, Manhattan
- Michael Florio, son of John Joseph Florio, Engine 214, Brooklyn
- John R. Leahy, son of NYPD Officer James P. Leahy, 6th Precinct, Greenwich Village
- Robert Tilearcio Jr., son of Robert Tilearcio Sr., Engine 266, Far Rockaway, who died of brain cancer in 2017
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(Main photo Leonard Ragaglia, left, and his son Anthony Ragaglia, right. courtesy of NY Post)
On this day when we remember all those lost in the terror attacks in New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville, PA, let us also bear witness to the courage and bravery of all those walk in 9/11 legacy footsteps and wish them “safe home” on their calls.