Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Revere Respect Remember - Lesson III

You may bury me with an enemy in Mount Calvary
You can stack me on a pyre and soak me down with whiskey
Roast me to a blackened crisp and throw me in a pile
I could really give a shit - I'm going out in style

On the subject of going out in style, kudos to Jason Katims and Kyle Chandler of Friday Night Lights. Katims won the Emmy for Best Writing in a Drama Series at Sunday night's Emmy Awards for the series finale, "Always". Chandler won the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series. If you never watched the series while it was on, find it on-line, rent and/or buy the DVD box sets. For the most part (Season Two being the exception that proves the rule) Friday Night Lights was television's best hour every hour it was on.

Today is September 20th. Sunday's Tunnel to Towers Run is now five days away. Although weather is about as reliable as A.J. Burnett, the forecast for Sunday (at least as seen from Tuesday) is nothing short of spectacular: 73 degrees, sunshine and 0% chance of rain. Regardless of the weather, we shall run. Considering in whose footsteps we are running, it is the only thing we could do.

James Amato was a Captain with Squad 1 in Brooklyn. Captain Amato, 43 years old, was a married father of four. According to his brother Lee - who is also a firefighter - Captain Amato loved to be part of the action. He enjoyed his job and the challenges it brought to him and to his fellow firefighters. In the New York Times profile of him, Captain Amato was referred to as "A Fireman's Fireman". In September 2001, Captain Amato was only forty-three years old. Yet, he was already a twenty-year veteran of th FDNY. When one decides that he shall spend his life coming to the assistance of others, he apparently gets into it as early as he can. During his twenty-year career in the FDNY, Captain Amato received four individual citations for valor.

Calixto Anaya, Jr. was a Firefighter assigned to Engine 4 in Manhattan. Prior to joining the FDNY, FF Anaya was a member of another proud organization. He was a United States Marine from 1984 through 1988. After war commenced in Iraq in 1991, he re-enlisted in the Corps and, after serving in Operation Desert Storm, he was discharged for a second time in 1992. On April 27, 1990 he married his bride Marie. In the eleven-plus years between that date and the early September morning on which he lost his life while saving others, he and Marie expanded their original duo into a quintet. FF Anaya was the father of three, including his two daughters Kristina Marie and Rebecca and his son Brandon. Marie, remembers the New York City firefighter everyone knew as Charlie as "very attentive to the little things that keep love alive," whether it was taking days off for activities with their three children or showing up with flowers when she did not expect them. FF Anaya was only 35 years old.

Joseph Campbell was the favorite author of FF David Arce. FF Arce was a member of Engine 33 in Manhattan. In the Introduction to his seminal work The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Campbell wrote, "A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man." FF Arce was off-duty when he made the decision on the morning of September 11, 2001 to hop on one of his Company's trucks and respond to the World Trade Center. He was thirty-six years old. According to his mom, Margaret, when she went to complete the tragic task of opening up his apartment after his death she came across numerous "Dear Santa" letters written by poor, underprivileged children. FF Arce enjoyed playing Santa as - according to his Mom - he delivered toys to countless children year after year after year. "He has always been like that, always bringing home stray cats, stray dogs, stray kids," she said. "Growing up, it was the same thing; he was always bringing someone home to me who needed a meal, or who needed a coat."

A hero in the company of heroes. A hero with 1,000 faces....and at least 343 names.


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