It’s been almost 12 years now since 2,750 people, including 343 of our Brothers; were murdered at the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
That in itself is hard for me to believe because it’s still so fresh in my mind.
It’s also hard for me to believe that they are still identifying remains but this past Friday, they did just that.
The announcement was made that the remains of Lieutenant Jeffrey Patrick Walz were positively identified.
Lt. Walz was 37 years old at the time of his death and was promoted promoted posthumously. He was assigned to Ladder Company 9 in downtown Manhattan. He had a wife, Rani; and a 3 year old son Bradley.
The Medical Examiner’s office has been retesting remains found from the original recovery efforts which was prior to May 2002.
I said it’s “good news” but I guess for the family, it’s bitter sweet.
His sister, Karen Ciaccio says there hasn’t been a day in the nearly 4,000 that have passed since his death that they haven’t thought about Jeffrey. I’m sure this latest development will cause all the emotion and memories to resurface but also hope it brings some sort of peace to their lives.
His Brother, Raymond; said “We’re just very relieved, in some respects, to be finally bringing him home to where he grew up and to put him to rest there,” (quote from NBC New York.com).
I hope they are able to find peace through this. I say “peace” vs. “closure” because I don’t think there’s ever “closure” when you loose a loved one. I also hope the Medical Examiner’s office is able to identify even more victims through their retesting process.
View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
Finding Lt. Walz was the “good news” from my title. The pain and disgust comes from Bravo’s reality television show “The Princesses: Long Island”.
Last week, Chief Goldfeder alerted us of the disgraceful event that took place at a 9/11 Memorial in Great Neck, Long Island.
Cast from the show was doing some sort of photo shoot in front of the memorial. There were 6 FDNY members from Great Neck who were murdered in the September 11th attacks. Their names are memorialized on the wall behind the life sized statue of Jonathan Ielpi whom the park is named after … Jon’s Park”.
The cast was undressing and changing cloths in front of the memorial and even enacted giving Jonathan a drink of beer.
IT WAS NOT ONLY DISTASTEFUL, IT WAS ALSO VERY DISRESPECTFUL!
Family interviews, more video and links HERE and HERE
This story hits close to home for me because I’ve met Jonathan’s Father and Brother (Lee and Brendan). I’ve written about them several times here on Ironfiremen.com.
Back in October of 2011 I met Jonathan’s father, Lee Ielpi; and it remains one of the most memorial days of my life.
I was in New York with Rhett and Zach Green (of MN8 FoxFire). Chief Goldfeder arranged a tour of the 9/11 Tribute Center for us. It’s located next to Ground Zero.
“9/11 Tribute Center offers visitors to the World Trade Center site a place where they can connect with people from the September 11th community. Through walking tours, exhibits and programs, the 9/11 Tribute Center offers “Person to Person History,” linking visitors who want to understand and appreciate these historic events with those who experienced them.”
Lee is a retired Captain from FDNY’s Rescue 2 and is the Founder of the 9/11 Tribute Center. Lee gave us the tour personally!
Chief Goldfeder called in a huge favor on this one as his assistants made it very clear that Lee had a VERY busy schedule and would only be able to spend about 10 minutes with us.
Within minutes of our introduction, we both knew we’d be spending more than 10 minutes together. I still can’t describe it but remember it as if it was just this morning. When we shook hands and made eye contact, there was an instant bond.
Like a father would a son, Lee NEVER took his hand off me for more than 30 seconds until the end of our visit. Whether it was his hand on my shoulder or back, holding my elbow etc, he hardly ever broke contact. It was VERY personal for me.
Actually, he said that he tries to avoid that display most days but wanted to share it with us.
He wanted me to see it and for him to be the one to show me. I cry still today thinking about what we shared there that morning.
Jonathan was assigned to Squad 288 out of Queens. They lost 19 members that day, more than any other company.
Lee searched “the pile” every day with who he called the “eight dads”. They found Jonathan’s body 3 months from the day of the attacks.
I don’t think Lee has left the pile yet. I don’t think he ever will.
Click HERE to read my previous post “RE-ADJUSTING”
I met Jonathan’s Brother, Brendan; in February of 2012. It was on yet another trip to New York for me, Rhett and Zach.
We were heading up to deliver a check to the Rescue 2 MayDay Fund following the incident where Firefighters Gersbeck and Wiedmann were severely burned.
Rescue 2 had just taken delivery of their new rig. We were getting the tour when they caught a run and Captain Flaherty told us to hop in.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Brendan is now assigned to Rescue 2 and he was on duty that day (that’s him, sitting closest to the right).
The visit gave me the chance to talk to Brendan for a while and share my story of meeting his father.
Click HERE to read that post
I can’t say enough about either of these two GREAT men. Their poise and strength is amazing to me, especially now that I know the pain of having lost a brother myself.
These two men, Jonathan, the remaining 342 and all of their survivors deserve our RESPECT … not the disrespect shown by Bravo and the Princesses:Long Island cast.
PLEASE, take the time to use the links I’ve provided so you’ll understand their story. Then, contact Bravo and let them know how upset you are with the actions of and disrespect shown by the cast of Princesses: Long Island.
Click HERE to contact the Bravo Channel
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