Monday, September 11, 2006

Today we Remember, John Napolitano

John Napolitano
World Trade Center

I've never met Lt. John Napolitano. I've never met any who either died or knew someone who died on Sept. 11, 2001. But I've prayed for them. I've prayed for 2996 brave people who lost their lives that day. Mostly, I've prayed for their families.

I wish I could write something about John that was just perfect, but I found this and it was all already said. This was originally printed in the New York Times on December 27, 2001, but I found it on Remember: September 11, 2001, which is an incredible Sept. 11 tribute website.

Living Life His Own Way
John P. Napolitano won enough awards, medals and citations from the New York Fire Department and the Lakeland Fire District in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., where he lived, to fill a box.
And a box is where he kept them.
"He didn't have to wear medals on his chest," said his father, John. "I really admired him, not for what he did for a living, but for how he lived his life."
Lieutenant Napolitano — he was promoted posthumously — was a fireman's fireman. He showed up as an experienced rookie in 1991, having started as a junior volunteer with the Lakeland district when he was 17. He eventually became chief and commissioner there.
Robert Galione worked with Lieutenant Napolitano at Rescue 2 in Brooklyn, following him into some tough fires. "He'd go into a fire that was roaring so loud we couldn't hear anything," Firefighter Galione said. "I was right behind him humping the hose, so I know he never took a step back."
Firefighting was his life's work, but not his life. "What did he do outside the firehouse?" said his father. "That's the easiest question to answer. Being with his wife and kids. Period. End of story."
To please his two little girls, Elizabeth and Emma Rose, Lieutenant Napolitano, 33, would do almost anything. The image that sticks in the mind of his wife, Anne, is of him trying to fly a kite on a windless day to make the girls smile.
They did.
Also on there is a Guest Book for John to view and sign. I suggest anyone wanting to get to know John better view this Guest Book as it has 5 years worth of heartbreaking and beautiful letters from his father, John Napolitano Sr, on it. Somehow, it doesn't seem right for me to share those thoughts and feelings with you without asking his father first. So, please take a moment to read at least a few of this grieving father's memories of John. Because no one can ever say it better than he can. His admiration for his son is so prevalent in everything he writes. John Sr. celebrates his son's life in these touching letters.
Please, say a prayer Thanking God for Lt. John Napolitano's herioc acts on the day of September 11, 2001 as he entered the World Trade Center with one thing in mind, to save people. And pray for his family, his mom and dad, his wive and two daughters, his sisters, and fellow firefighters.
Thank you, John.
*Also, please take a few minutes to visit
the 2996 website to see the list of more than 3400 bloggers who have signed up to pay tribute to a Sept. 11 vicitm. Links to all their pages with their tributes are listed.


kateandjona said...

Peggie - a very fitting post for an American hero - and what a totally cool picture of him too!

Please visit Jonathon's Closet to pay tribute to Robert Levine, who was lost in WTC Tower 1.

graymama said...

This is a great remembrance of John! My grandfather was a firefighter for 32 years. These tributes really hit me hard.

I remembered Thomas E. Sinton III.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

What a beautiful...and perfect tribute. This project, 2996, has been an amazing adventure...from researching Sgt. Michael Curtin to reading each of the other lives honored. What a blessing! I pray the families of each life lost will feel just a little encouraged to know that we will not forget their sacrifice and personal loss.


Roe said...

Peggie, what a great post. I can't believe it's taken me this long to hit your blog, but I'm glad I'm here and will be back!

brian said...

Thank you for sharing this tribute post with all of us. I have read many firefighter tributes and they were all heros.

Thank you for stopping by my tribute for Gilbert and leaving a comment.

Alli's Mom said...

What a wonderful post.

I remember David LaForge, also a firefighter.

gordaboo said...

A beautiful tribute for a beautiful man. What a life force!
He is missed.

We will never forget.

my tribute is for Lisa Egan

Mel Chickk said...

A wonderful tribute. Thank you for sharing. Both my sons are firefighters so these hit me the hardest.

I remember Sheila Hein

Karmyn R said...

Thank you for posting such a delightful tribute to a true American Hero.

michelle said...

I couldn't get through your tribute without crying...such brave men who rushed to the WTC site to do their jobs. His father's entries are just heart wrenching...what a special relationship they must have had. Thank you for this beautiful tribute. I pray God will grant his wife, children, parents and siblings the strength to carry on after losing such a special person.

My tribute to Dominick Berardi is posted.

David said...

bless you for your words here and for your caring prayers, I say amen.
Life is more precious when we realize it could be snatched away. I think i will go hug my daughter!

Jay T. said...

Thanks for sharing that. I remembered Harry Ramos, who was killed in WTC1 while comforting a complete stranger.

EyeSpy said...

Beautiful. Thank you for introducing John Napolitano to me.

I pray for his dad, and all the others like him, who are left here to grieve.

I remember Ana Centeno.

peppypilotgirl said...

A wonderful tribute to what sounds like an amazing man. May his family and friends know they are held in the hearts of many.

Thank you for your post on my remembrance of Brooke David Rosenbaum.

Tracy said...

Excellent is such a joy to read about each of these amazing heroes.

I remember RAYMOND R YORK.

Happy Mama to Three said...

That every name, every face, every soul, every heartbeat should be made one. In the face of the tragedy we all lived through, it is the only prayer I have. Your tribute brings one more name, one more face, one more soul, one more heartbeat into the circle, and we keep living, not inspite of 9/11, but because of those who gave all.

Thank you for your piece of the puzzle.

I proudly honored Jay Robert Magazine and Mark Bingham on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Peggie, I love reading your blog because I know that everyday that I come here, I am going to see something thought provoking and emotional. THanks so much for this beautiful tribute to a true hero. Love, Snowflake

rmgales said...

This was a great tribute. I have a brother who is a firefighter, so I find this tribute touching. I'm visiting as many 2996 blogs as I can, and I hope that you will visit mine. I'm honoring Nancy Carole Farley and Jeffrey J. Shaw.

Ken Boris said...

I once read a book titled "The Last Men Out" it was about the firehouse life at Rescue 2. Myself being a firefighter for a small Illinois town had always been drawn to a bigger department and there is no bigger or more proud of a department than the FDNY. Reading about John Napolitano and the rest of his crew in that book brought it to life and the feeling that I was running calls with them. Once I got to the end of the book on the attacks of September 11th, I cried and wept along with everyone else that day and in the book too. It was such an amazing piece of literature and I had always felt sorry to hear about John and everyone that was lost at Rescue 2. John Napolitano has been in the back of my mind ever since, and for some reason I dont know why. I just felt so connected to him and to know that he was just being accepted into the Rescue 2 house just as I was with my department. I have the utmost respect for these men. RIP John Napolitano.

Christine said...

My husband knew John Napolitano, personally, as a member of Lakeland FD, in Ronkonkoma, NY. Bobby will never forget him, his courage or sacrifice. May you rest in peace, Johnny "Nap"

Chaos Mommy said...

Ken, I have a video that John's dad sent me. It was supposed to a show that was filmed about Rescue 2, and it ended up being about those lost, including John Jr. I absolutely cry my head off every time I watch it. I've always been meaning to read Last Man Out, since John Sr. told me about it. I will definitely pick it up!

Christine, all I can say is Bless you all for ALL you have been through! I can not even imagine how much this affected you all in New York. We live in upstate NY at Fort Drum now and I can't wait to come down to NYC and pay homage to John Jr and everyone who was lost today, 9 years ago.

Michael said...

Great tribute! I was in an on line class with John's wife Ann during 911. I never met Ann but i had taken a couple of classes with her and at the time she was my project partner. I will never forget her email on the day it happened and she said her husband was missing atthe time. Ann dropped from the class shortly after for obvious reasons but I never felt so close to someone I didn't really know in all my life. I don't believe I have ever been affected by something so much. I wrote a poem at the time I sent to her that I will share.

An Unknown Friend

I am staring open-mouthed at gray words
A cold passionless messenger.
My hands are shaking,
My eyes are filled with tears,
My heart is breaking for someone I have never seen.

I am helpless, so far from what is real.
Dark deeds by wild-eyed mad men.
The reasons are vague,
The purpose so shallow,
The wound is open and vulnerable.

I am attached, coupled in your pain,
Lost in ruins of what once was.
There is a vacant empty cage,
There is a well without water,
There is an eternity of wondering ahead.

I am displaced, disjoined by events,
Crippling fear, delivered quick and clean.
Never again to be the same,
Never again finding sanctuary within a home,
Never again breathing air as clean as before.

I am confined, paralyzed in place.
Restrained tears for an unknown comrade.
More love for my wife,
More love for my children,
More love and I feel so much less as a person.

I am numb, searching to feel your pain.
High school heroes now forever saving.
You should be held,
You should be told,
You are blessed by the memory of a warrior.

I am struggling, reaching to know who you are.
A faceless friend forever remembered
My words are yours,
My soul touched and scarred forever,
My heart breaking for a friend never known.