Photo: The Vigiano family (used with permission)

9-11-01 is one of those days where you remember exactly where you were.

I was on vacation, and had flown home from JFK in New York and landed at LAX around 10pm the night of September 10th.  

The morning of September 11th my boyfriend (and now husband) Tim, woke me up at 6am telling me that I had to come and look at the TV.

I saw the North Tower of the World Trade Center on fire. I got nauseous because just a few days before I had been standing on the 107th-floor observation deck of the South Tower of the World Trade center visiting some friends in the city.

A few minutes later, the unthinkable happened, the South Tower was also hit by a plane.  It was terrifying to see and you just knew at that moment, we were under attack.

My immediate thoughts were to my family and friends who worked in the city, some of which worked inside one of the World Trade Center towers.  Watching what was happening was heartbreaking especially not knowing if they were ok.  As the hours went by, we heard little by little from our family members that they were ok. Thankfully, most of them had not gotten to work yet. Others were already in the city just trapped with no way to get back home.

As far as friends, some of whom I had not spoken to in awhile, it was harder to get information about them, and it wasn't until later that I found out which friends were ok...and which weren't.

So many people lost their lives that day, it's heartbreaking to think about.  But it's even more personal when you see names that you recognize. 

My mom has known John and Jan Vigiano for many, many years, and I remember their only children, John Jr. and Joseph, from my childhood, the boys were a few years older than me.  

John Sr. spent 36 years in the NYFD, and both his sons followed him into service.  John Jr. was a New York City firefighter, and his younger brother Joseph, was an NYPD detective.  

On 9/11/01, the brothers headed to the World Trade Center to help evacuate those trapped.  It was there, that both brothers lost their lives, and their parents lost their only children.

John Jr and Joseph both left behind wives and children that day, some of their children have since followed in their father's and grandfather's footsteps to serve their city and their country.

John Sr., passed away in 2018 from cancer at the age of 79.  Although he retired in 1998, in the aftermath of 9-11, he joined many other retired police and firefighters to help in the search of Ground Zero, hoping that the bodies of his sons would be found.  They never were. 


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