Firefighter Joseph Graffagnino, R.I.P.

Where was I today sweet friends?


Photos:Courtesy AP, Getty,NYTimes

FDNY Announces the Deaths of Firefighters Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta announced on August 18 the deaths of Firefighters Joseph Graffagnino, 33, of Ladder Company 5, and Robert Beddia, 53, of Engine Company 24.

The firefighers died of smoke inhalation while fighting a fire at the former Deutsche Bank building, an old, 41-story skyscraper which was damaged by debris on Sept. 11 and which was being painstakingly and slowly dismantled.

I attended the funeral for Firefighter Joseph Graffagnino, 33, of Ladder Company 5, who died in the fire at the former Deutsche Bank building, near Ground Zero, on Saturday. Joseph is survived by his wife, Linda, and two children, a 4-year-old daughter, Mia, and an infant son, Joseph.

Mayor Bloomberg ,Governor Spitzer, and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta tried to ease the pain.

But………What did I see, you ask.

I did not only see men.

I saw little boys,..with memories of big red trucks, red engines, sirens, excitement and, yes, even…. danger.

I observed men who have seen so much more death than most, yet spend their entire days – saving lives.

I visualized these men crawling through dark and choking halls, climbing on roofs through driving snow, creeping in basements, hot with searing heat.
Peering into closets where young children may hide, under a bed, where a puppy may lie. Moving ever so slowly across a weakened floor………looking for someone..anyone..who might still be there.


I noticed big, manly arms imagining just how many small bodies they have clutched in those very arms…. to safety.

I overhead conversations between firefighters, joking, back slapping, sighing, and sharing…..
Men who don’t just preach about love and brotherhood.
They live it.

I set eyes on those who stare in the face of death just to save a life they do not even know, and when told how “special” they are, they answer simply: “It’s my job.”

Firefighter Joseph Graffagnino:


You answered one last bell, but ..
Fret not.
An eternal flame will forever warm your name.

27 Responses to “Firefighter Joseph Graffagnino, R.I.P.”

  1. Debbie says:

    Good for you Angel. Those brave men and their families. God bless them all.

  2. Strawberry says:

    Amen to Debbie’s sentiment! They are definitely over worked and underpaid!

  3. nanc says:

    firemen and our military have to be the closest thing to sainthood that i can imagine – those who selflessly put their lives in harms way almost daily not knowing if they’ll return from a call must be the heaviest of burdens. and G-d bless their families for the tightrope they must walk on moment to moment – guess you’re right about one thing, woman – life is a dance, not a moment to be wasted.

  4. kevin says:

    Beautiful tribute.

  5. LomaAlta says:

    Nice post Angel. Some of my close family are firefighters and they are indeed everything you say and more.

  6. Pela68 says:

    Men of service. Allways there for you. To easily forgotten when they’re gone…

    I have several service weapons. But what some people forget, is that I use them to protect them, not the other way around…

    But WHEN the doodoo hits the fan- Who do they call?

    (Hope this makes sense)

  7. Kevin says:

    Well said.

  8. hnav says:

    A wonderful expression for so many well deserving.

  9. Joe Gringo says:

    You not only talk the talk, you walk the walk there sister!

    Great post, got this gringo a little misty eyed.

  10. Gayle says:

    I cannot believe I missed this post, Angel. It’s a wonderful, heart-felt tribute. When I got to that line about little boys dreaming about big trucks, I teared up. It’s so true! These are wonderful people, many throughout our country who are not even paid because they are volunteer firemen. They aren’t appreciated half enough by our society.

    May God rest this man’s wonderful soul and help bring peace to his family, and I know He will.

    May He always bless you as well.

  11. Seth says:

    Fine tribute, Angel.

    Firefighters are folks who make a career of day-to-day heroism; for what passes as brave for most people is, to any of those mostly unsung heroes, just another day on the job.

    Of course, I have long believed that firemen, police officers (and other Law Enforcement personnel), paramedics and military members are grossly undercompensated for what they do and the risks they take on behalf of the rest of us. I’d gladly trade the lives of any 50 politicians, 100 corporate executives or 500 lawyers for that of one fireman.

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  13. D. Ox says:

    Beautiful and moving tribute…

  14. Fang says:

    God bless. Thanks Angel for bringing this tragedy to my attention.

    My thoughts go out to his family, friends and work mates. xo

  15. Faultline USA says:

    Bless you Angel for being there and for our sharing your beautiful tribute. You often make us laugh and sometimes you make us cry. But you always reach into our hearts to bring out the best!

  16. brooke says:

    God bless those brave men and keep their families in this time.

  17. wytammic says:

    Very touching Angel. Thank God for heroes.

  18. Always On Watch says:

    Angel,
    Beautifully done!

    The pictures of those children (“half-orphans” now) are so touching. But later in life that can take rightful pride in what their Daddies did in selflessly serving the community.

  19. American Crusader says:

    Just as those killed on 911, these firemen are victims of the same horrific act.
    They were killed by Islamic terrorist.
    Their names deserve to be on any 911 Memorial placed at Ground Zero.
    Great post Angel.

  20. Phil says:

    The Firemen, The Policemen / Policewomen, and Soldiers are a special breed of people who serve us with pride and dignity and courage, these people will always be honored and remembered.

    Good post Angel

  21. michael says:

    Beautiful post, Angel. Sometimes, I think we take firefighters (and EMTs, and even traffic cops) for granted, but where would society be without them?

    Did you know Graffagnino, or was the funeral open to the public? And if it was, were a lot of people there? It’s good that people would show support for the FD, their families, and acknowledge their courage (and occasional sacrifices); but why wait for the funeral?

    I’ve taken my daughters to the fire station, to see the trucks and equipment, and meet the firefighters, and the firemen are always happy to give a tour, talk about the job, let the kid sit in the driver seat or wear the helmet.

    I’m starting to ramble; this was a moving post, Angel.

  22. Yankee Doodle says:

    Very sorry to hear about the loss, Angel.

    Firefighters routinely risk their lives to save other people’s lives and property. They are true heroes that anyone should appreciate.

    That’s a great post, Angel, and the world is a better place because of Firefighter Joseph and because of other firefighters.

    It’s also a better place because of you, Angel.

  23. Ogre says:

    That’s good that you got to go and see the heroes as they are.

  24. Defiant_Infidel says:

    Wow, Angel. Excellent. Thank you for your cognizance of their contributions and attending.

  25. Incognito says:

    Thank God for brave souls like firefighters and soldiers and policemen who put their lives on the line to help save ours..

    God Bless ‘em all!

  26. mike says:

    Linda is a hero as well.

  27. Xenia says:

    Well written article.