I lifted this off of nyfd.com. The grace,dignity and compassion shown by Captain Vigiano is something all of us could use more of in our own lives. A REAL Band of BROTHERS
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Thread: What it's all about
04-03-2005, 12:41 AM #1
What it's all aboutIAFF-IACOJ PROUD
04-03-2005, 02:47 PM #2
Thanks for posting this Mike, it's a good read.To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.
GO WHITE SOX!!!!!
04-03-2005, 05:43 PM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
Great story Mike. Thanks for posting it.
04-03-2005, 05:51 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jun 2003
- Westlake, Ohio
I have such admiration for Captain Vigiano. Even in the face of such incredible personal losses, he continues to devote his life to helping others.
04-03-2005, 10:36 PM #5
Not the first time either:
NYC firefighter, former Marine thanks Bethesda, Walter Reed residents
Submitted by: New York City Public Affairs
Story Identification #: 20041227145549
Story by Cpl. Lameen Witter
NEW YORK (Dec. 27, 2004) -- Doctors at the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., recently gave President George W. Bush a thorough medical examination and pronounced him fit for duty. Since its conception in 1938, Bethesda has been more than the president's hospital; facilities like Bethesda and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center are main treatment facilities for injured service members and their families.
When John Vigiano, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) fireman, former Marine, and charter member of the FDNY-USMC Association, learned he could visit wounded service members at Bethesda and Walter Reed in support of their recovery, he leapt at the chance.
"I really felt honored to be allowed to spend some time with those kids and their families," said Vigiano.
The helicopter crew chief of six years left the Corps in 1966, but never lost sight of the honor, courage, and commitment the Corps instilled in him. A father of two, he raised his sons, Joe and John Vigiano, to emulate those Corps values. Joe went on to become a police officer and John followed in his father's footsteps to the FDNY. Both served valiantly throughout their careers until they were killed on September 11, 2001 during the World Trade Center rescue.
"On September 13th, I actually went down to see the rubble, and when I did I knew there were no survivors. I went down to the site everyday until we found Joe's body, but we never found John's body," said Vigiano, his voice heavy as he remembered the difficult time. "I was busting with pride with those two. They were outstanding men, and I never had any regrets regarding them."
The former leatherneck joined with others who had lost loved ones during September 11, 2001, and visited the medical centers to thank the injured servicemembers for their contributions to the Global War on Terrorism since the twin towers of the World Trade Center were attacked.
"I wanted to say thanks up close and in person to these kids who gave so much. I wanted them to know I appreciate their sacrifice," said Vigiano.
Vigiano and the small group visited nearly 20 wounded Marines in each hospital, some of whom experienced combat as recently as November. Along with pins and stickers, he brought the patients New York Police and Fire Department hats and shirts donated by local units in the city. He also took $1,000 in donated funds and purchased calling cards for the servicemembers, which started with a $200 donation from John's old FDNY unit, Ladder 132, Engine 280.
The smoke eater recalled during his visit to Bethesda one young sergeant who was with his wife and mother. The sergeant was showing the shrapnel that put him in the hospital when it ripped through his body. Vigiano shared the story of his sons, who gave their lives in the line of duty, and he thanked the young sergeant for his commitment.
"The guy on the other side of the curtain in the room overheard the story I told the young sergeant and began to cry for me. (Those) boys were thanking me for my sacrifice. I told him, 'don't be upset, we're in this together'," said Vigiano with a sigh in his voice. "For anyone who wants to feel good about being an American...take the time and go visit these kids."
For more information on how you can visit servicemembers at Walter Reed Army Center call (202) 782-3501. Call (301) 295-4000 and select option seven to learn how you can visit servicemembers at Naval Medical Center, Bethesda. According to the hospital staff, January, February, or March are good times to visit, but the visiting groups are limited to a maximum of six people.
04-03-2005, 10:39 PM #6
He was on this trip too:
Release # 0911-03-0836
Sept. 09, 2003
Commentary: A 9-11 Widow Reflects on a Visit to Troops in Iraq
WASHINGTON--By Christy Ferer
Special to American Forces Press Service
(Editor's Note: The author has updated this commentary from a previous version that was widely distributed. It is her account of a trip to Iraq June 2003 to visit U.S. forces there. Used by permission.)
When I told friends I was making a pilgrimage to Iraq to thank the U.S. troops, their reactions were underwhelming at best.
Some were blunt: "Why are YOU going there?" They couldn't understand why it was important for me, a 9-11 widow, to express my support for the men and women stationed today in the Persian Gulf.
The reason seemed clear, as far as I was concerned. I was going not to embrace the war, but to embrace the warriors.
I didn't intend to use the emotional capital generated by my connection to Sept. 11, 2001, to defend the U.S. presence in Iraq, and I am certainly aware there is no proof yet that Saddam Hussein was linked to 9-11. But I wanted to go there because I am the daughter of a World War II veteran who was decorated with a Purple Heart, and because I am the widow of a man who lost his life in what some feel was the opening salvo of World War III.
I wanted, needed, to honor my father and my husband, their service and sacrifice, by standing before those who were now making sacrifices and serving our country.
Some 150,000 troops were sent halfway around the world by our government, and therefore in all of our names, to depose Saddam Hussein. Saddam's despotic regime fueled volatile anti-American sentiment that many feel is connected to terrorist attacks like the one that took place on Sept. 11, 2001.
But my friends' reactions were so politely negative that I began to doubt my role in the first USO/Tribeca Institute tour into newly occupied Iraq. Besides, with Robert De Niro, Wayne Newton, and Rebecca and John Stamos, who needed me? I'm hardly a celebrity.
Did U.S. soldiers really want to hear about my husband, Neil Levin, who went to work as director of the Port Authority of New York on Sept. 11 and never came home?
How would they relate to the two other bereaved people traveling with me -- Ginny Bauer, a New Jersey homemaker and mother of three who lost her husband, David; and former Marine Jon Vigiano, who lost his only sons: Jon, a firefighter, and Joe, a policeman?
As we were choppered over the bleached deserts, I wondered if I'd feel like a street hawker, passing out Port Authority pins and baseball caps as I said "Thank you" to the troops. Would a hug from me compare to hugs from a Victoria's Secret model, or the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders?
The first "meet and greet" made me weep. I knew I had made the right decision, to do anything I could to support these new warriors. My own daughters are old enough to be soldiers. Here were their peers -- 118-year-olds, armed with M-16 and saddlebags of water in the 120-degree heat. The soldiers swarmed around the stars for photos and autographs. Then it was announced that a trio of 9-11 family members was also in the tent.
It was as if an emotional dam had burst.
Some wanted to touch us, as if they needed a physical connection to our sorrow, and living proof of one reason they were there. One mother of two from Montana told me she'd signed up because of 9-11, and dozens of others said the same. One young man showed me his metal bracelet engraved with the name of a victim he'd never known and that awful date none of us will ever forget.
At every encounter with the troops, there was a surge of Reservists -- firefighters and cops, including many who had worked in the rubble of Ground Zero -- who had come to exchange a hometown hug. Their glassy eyes still didn't allow anyone to penetrate to the place where their trauma is lodged, the trauma that comes with devastation unimaginable to those who didn't witness it. It's there in me, too. I forced my way downtown on that terrible morning, convinced I could find Neil beneath the rubble.
I was not prepared for the soldiers who showed us the World Trade Center memorabilia they'd carried with them into the streets of Baghdad. Others had been holding in stories of personal 9-11 tragedies that had made them enlist.
To those men and women, it didn't seem to matter that Saddam Hussein's regime had not produced the murderers of Sept. 11. Despotic rulers like Saddam fuel the volatile anti-American sentiment that breeds such terrorism, they felt: to stabilize the Gulf region was to protect U.S. soil.
At Saddam Hussein International Airport, where Kid Rock gave an impromptu concert in a steamy hangar, Capt. Jorge Vargas from the Bronx tapped me on the back. He'd enlisted in the Army after some of his wife's best friends were lost at the World Trade Center. When he saw the piece of recovered metal from the Towers that I had been showing to a group of soldiers, he grasped for it as if it were a grail.
Then he handed it to Kid Rock, who passed the precious metal through the 5,000 troops in the audience. They lunged at the opportunity to touch the steel that symbolized what so many of them felt was the purpose of their mission. Looking into that sea of khaki gave me chills, even in the blistering heat.
To me, those troops were there to send a message not to just one country, but to an entire region that breeds the brand of terrorism that murdered my husband and some 3,000 others.
When I got to the microphone, I told the soldiers we hadn't made the journey to hear condolences, but to thank them and to say that the families of 9-11 think of them every day. The crowd interrupted me with chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" Many cried.
What happened next left me with no doubt why I had come.
There I was onstage, quaking before thousands of troops because I was to present a small piece of the World Trade Center steel to Gen. Tommy Franks. As I handed him the icy gray block, his eyes welled up.
I was stunned when the proud four-star general was unable to hold back the tears, which streamed down his face as he stood at center stage before his troops. The men and women in khaki fell silent. As he turned from the spotlight to regain his composure, I put my arms around him and tried to comfort both of us with an embrace.
(Christy Ferer was appointed in June 2003 to the Family Advisory Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the agency responsible for rebuilding and revitalizing Lower Manhattan, by New York Gov. George E. Pataki. She also serves as a special assistant to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as a liaison to families affected by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.)
04-03-2005, 10:43 PM #7
Another compelling article about Capt Vigiano-complete with a photo-wearing his helmet with pics of his sons and the USMC eagle globe and anchor.
Semper fi, Captain
04-04-2005, 12:41 PM #8
thanks"Train as if your life depends on it"
Always Remember *343*
04-04-2005, 01:34 PM #9
Awesome......09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
"Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.
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