News and Updates

A 9/11 Remembrance from PBA of NYS President Manuel M. Vilar

Friday, September 09, 2011

September 9: As we approach the tenth anniversary of the attacks on our nation on September 11, I think back to that day. That morning, I was in the safety of my home community in eastern Long Island, 150 miles from New York City blissfully unaware of the events unfolding until my wife Christine, called me in a panic. And she had lots to be in a panic about. My father-in-law Jim, and his brother Frank, led a long line of family members into public service with the FDNY. Jim was a highly decorated NYC Fire Captain and the lieutenant of the Dennis E. Smith Book titled “Report form Engine 82” written in the 1970’s about the members of his South Bronx house. On September 11, although Jim and Frank had been long retired, Christine’s brother-in-law and 6 other family members were all active NYC Firemen – all were assigned to either Manhattan or the Bronx.

As I went on duty and responded to NYC I left not knowing everyone’s fate and whether our previous family gathering was truly our last time together. During that first long day, we slowly tracked everyone down and discovered all was okay. Some narrowly escaped death and we all lost many friends. Of the seven of us – myself included – only 3 remain on active duty, 2 have respiratory problems and one recently beat cancer but we are all alive and planning the next family gathering. This weekend, we will thank God for our families’ good fortune, bless those close to us that perished and remember the men and women who we never knew but will always be in our thoughts. We will look forward to the future and cherish our blessings. On this September 11th, enjoy your time with your loved ones and God Bless America.