Monday, September 12, 2016

The Life of Brian

FF Brian Cannizzaro
FDNY - Ladder Co. 101 

FF Brian Cannizzaro, 30 years young at the time of his death on September 11, 2001, was the son of a New York City firefighter.  On the night of September 10, 2001, Brian spent some time on the telephone with his father, Sam, talking about a variety of things.  When the Cannizzaro men hung up, each told the other that he loved him.  Less than twenty-four hours later, Sam Cannizzaro would be on the Staten Island Ferry, crossing over into Lower Manhattan, in a desperate search to find his son in the maelstrom was the World Trade Center.  

FF Cannizzaro and his wife, Jacqueline, married on March 20, 1998.  When he proposed, he did so in a way that makes me smile every time I read about it.  The couple took in a performance of Beauty and the Beast from seats in the front row.  She did not know that he had hidden (a) the engagement ring in his sock; and (b) their parents in the mezzanine.  She also had no idea that he had arranged for the leading man to actually pop the question for him... from the stage after the cast had returned to the stage following the performance's conclusion to take their bows.  A tale as old as time.  Indeed. 

It took two months but on November 11, 2001, FF Cannizzaro's body was recovered from the wreckage of the towers.  He and Jackie had one child, a son named Christopher, who FF Cannizzaro delivered himself.  Christopher was less than one year old at the time of his father's death.  FF Cannizzaro was a devotee of the film, Gladiator, and he had suggested to his wife (half-kidding, I think) that they name their son, Maximus, after Russell Crowe's character in the film.  

Crowe's character was a work of fiction.  His deeds live on only as a celluloid hero.  Christopher's dad was a real-life, non-fiction hero.  His deeds - and his memory - shall live on forever.  

-AK


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