NEW YORK, N.Y. – 18 years ago, these kids lost their fathers to the horrific terrorist attacks on our country. Today… those fallen angels look down on their legacy and smile.
The latest class of the FDNY Academy contains 13 members – 12 men and one woman – who lost a parent in the attacks on the Twin Towers. Now, these 13 probies are about to become the next generation of New York’s bravest.
On Tuesday, 301 new firefighters graduated the FNDY Academy, and will now begin their journey to protect the famous city and all of its inhabitants.
Catch the video below, where NBC documented the emotional graduation ceremony.
Two groups of siblings are among the new class, including two sons of one firefighter and the son and daughter of another.
The Fire Commissioner said their bravery runs through their blood.
“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 said.
A local fire union spoke out in support of the new round of firefighters for choosing the life of a public servant.
“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.”
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Heloiza Asaro said she was “very proud” of her son, Marc, 25, and daughter, Rebecca, 27, for joining siblings Matthew Asaro, 30, and Carl, 31, in the FDNY, the Post reported.
“Being that they are the youngest, I’m more concerned. They wanted to honor their father, to help people like he did. Even if he hadn’t died, they would have become firefighters. Since they were little kids, the fireman was Santa Claus. The fireman organized the picnics.”
One of the recruits said how proud he was of his brother for following in their father’s footsteps.
“There are no negatives. We know the risks. We always liked helping people,” said James Foti, who planned on following his brother and taking the FDNY exam soon. “I know he’s happy,” he said of his brother, Robert. “He can’t wait to start the next chapter in his life.”
Most of the new recruits who lost their fathers on 9/11 were very young when it happened, some between 7 and 10 years-old at the time.
Other recruits lost their parent long after the attacks due to complications stemming from 9/11-related illnesses.
Dennis J. Heedles Sr. worked at Ground Zero in the cleanup efforts after the attacks. He died on Oct. 10, 2015, from complications related to 9/11-linked lung cancer.
NBC News: The terrorist attacks of 9/11 are still killing New York’s firefighters.
On the day 22 more names will be added to FDNY’s wall, a new study is out showing firefighters who responded to Ground Zero are at risk of serious cardiovascular issues: https://t.co/ZV5xI4lvto pic.twitter.com/d9AokaEY1l
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) September 6, 2019
Hats off to these incredible young Americans who have answered the call and congratulations on becoming the newest members of the FDNY! Your country is proud of your sacrifice.
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