“In Admiration Of Those Who Gave All”


WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:

”Admiration”

Deviating from my usual format… my submission for the WordPress Weekly Challenge of “Admiration” is going to be a tribute to a man who gave his life so that others might live.

In 2006 as we approached the fifth anniversary of the 9\11 attacks, I was part of a grass-roots group of almost 3,000 bloggers who volunteered to take part in a project called “2996: Honoring the 9\11 Victims”.

We were each to prepare a special blog post honoring one of the victims who died that day… and publish it on our blog September 11, 2006… the fifth anniversary of the attack.

I was assigned Joseph “Joey” Agnello… a firefighter with the Fire Department of New York. What follows is a reprise of that tribute.

* * * * * * * * * * *

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Lt Joseph “Joey” Agnello
FDNY Ladder Co 118 Brooklyn Heights
October 10 1965 – September 11 2001

Joseph Agnello was a career firefighter with the Fire Department of New York… but was described by his family and friends as not being defined by his life’s work… rather a guy who loved his wife VinnieCarla… his kids Salvatore and Vincent… took pleasure in his dogs… and thoroughly loved life.

On the morning of September 11 2001… Agnello had the day off. However he stopped by the fire station to pick up his pay check. While he was there… the alarm sounded… and Joey suited up and jumped on board.

Agnello and his fellow firefighters aboard Ladder 118 responded to what was to become their final fire. They parked their rig at West and Vesey Street by the towers… and vanished into the thick cloudy smoke and soot of the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel.

Pastor Michael Carrano at Assumption Church located around the corner from the firehouse described Joey and the crew of Ladder 118 as having “hearts of gold that you can’t find at the end of any rainbow.”


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Accounts by those rescued speak of the Ladder 118 crew ushering hundreds of the building occupants to safety. Survivor Bobby Graff says… “Their families should be proud of them. They knew what was going on, and they went down with their ship. They weren’t going to leave until everyone got out. They must have saved a couple hundred people that day. I know they saved my life.”

Graff recalls… “Joey helped me bring handicapped people down from the 19th floor in the elevator. We then went up to the 12th floor where people were screaming and brought them down. Then the mayday call came on the radio and the command was ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!’. Joey and the other guys used their bodies like a brace… like a riot squad… directing the people out. They knew what was coming, but they stayed where they were. I’ll never forget that. The men of Ladder 118 died side by side.”



Joey and Boys-4F

Joey Agnello with Salvatore (left) and Vincent (right

Upon hearing the story of Joey’s final moments… Agnello’s widow VinnieCarla said… “I always knew that my husband died helping others, and I knew in my heart that he was helping people up until the minute he died, but I didn’t know how. This is so incredible – knowing what happened that day is a gift that I can give my sons.”

A memorial service for Joey Agnello was held October 10 2001. He was recovered from the fallen towers in the early morning hours of January 1 2002… and was laid to rest January 4.

According to Agnello’s wife VinnieCarla… Joey was a simple man… and never took credit for his accomplishments… nor wanted for material possessions. He found comfort and happiness in the little things… being with his family and looking up at the sky on a starry night. “Sometimes…” She says… “when I take the dogs to the beach for a walk and I look up… I know he’s still around. Like tonight. There’s the most beautiful moon… and I know he’s with me.”

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“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
(John 15:13)

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20 comments on ““In Admiration Of Those Who Gave All””

  1. Salute to them who sacrifice the life for others!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And a salute to YOU for your lovely tribute. I know I will never forget and this post will remind so many others. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was one of those days where you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news. A day of unthinkable evil

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely correct about that! When I think of my grandkids… on one hand I am thankful they didn’t have to live through that or were too small to know what was happening… but on the other hand I believe experiencing 9\11… each in our own way… gave us a perspective and appreciation for our families… our nation… and those who serve and protect us every day that our younger folks just cannot quite understand.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

      Galen

      Liked by 1 person

  4. lest we forget… thank you for this tribute.

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  5. A beautiful and moving tribute.

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  6. What a wonderful tribute to Mr. Agnello and the rest of the 9/11 heroes. It takes a special, rare kind of courage – true selflessness – to do what those men did.

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    • Thank you for your comment. I attended the Fire Department Instructors Conference the following April and had an opportunity to meet some of the fire fighters who experienced that day. There gripping stories were hard to imagine… but they were very inspiring.

      I’m glad the tribute was meaningful for you.

      Galen

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] Galen911 “In Admiration Of Those Who Gave All” […]

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  8. Deeply moving. Thankyou for sharing this.

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  9. Moving, special. Thank you!

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  10. I just found your tribute after your like of one of my posts. I can’t express how important remembering those who served that day is to me. I still have trouble visiting NYC these many years later. I often took the Path from NJ to WTC and went up those escalators and off to work in lower Manhattan. May the families of those who gave all be blessed and comforted by people like you who care so much. Thank you.

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    • Thank you for your valuable comment. I have a great appreciation and high respect for people like yourself who were… and still are… affected in some way by the events of that day. The tribute that I was privileged to publish has brought me in contact with a number of them… and they each have powerful stories to tell whether they were actually there or they were profoundly affected because of their familiarity with the sites. Thank you for your insight…

      Galen

      Liked by 1 person


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