I know that a lot of folks are expecting me to write about 9-11 and how it not only changed our nation but also how it changed the lives of myself and my family. Not this time. Instead I will concentrate on the memory of a man. He was a man much like me and the same age. I got his name from Project 2,996 which has been sponsored by DC Roe.
He is Jeffrey Giordano 46, of New York, N.Y. and he died at the World Trade Center. He was a Firefighter from Ladder 3 in Manhattan and his Memorial Service was held on October 13, 2001.
As I look at his photo I wonder what he was like, what his hopes and dreams were. I look into into his eyes and I see a man who I would have liked to have known, have had a beer with, have called my friend. A man dedicated to public service, a man who understood the concepts of Duty, Honor, Country. A family man who loved his children but still selflessly rushed to the scene of the attack because it was the right thing to do. He is the same type of man as those I meet here, those who have risked all for those same three words; Duty, Honor, Country. I think that there has already been a more fitting tribute written about him than I ever could compose and I offer it here.
Athlete and devoted father lived a life that focused on helping and inspiring others
Sunday, October 07, 2001By MIKE AZZARA ADVANCE STAFF WRITER Burlington, VT.
Three words that characterize the life of Jeffrey Giordano, 45, of Tottenville, are "compassion in action." Jeff, as he was known, was committed to excellence in everything he did. His great physical and mental strength helped make him a man with strong moral and ethical convictions. When someone would say, "That's good enough," said his wife, the former Marie Scotto, "Jeff's response would be, 'That's the problem with the world -- people think it's OK to accept less than perfect.'"
Mr. Giordano, a firefighter with Ladder Co. 3 in Lower Manhattan, has been missing since the collapse of the World Trade Center Sept. 11. That morning, he called his wife at 6:30 from the firehouse to tell her to awaken the children so they could watch him on television. "I'm going to be on TV with Larry Hoff in a fund-raising promotion benefiting the Firefighters Burn Center Foundation and the Widows and Orphans Fund," he told her. He was an officer of the foundation. "It was as if he knew it would be the last time they would see their father alive," Mrs. Giordano said.
Shortly after 9 a.m., he called to say he was on his way to the World Trade Center. Mrs. Giordano said she "could feel the adrenaline flowing as he spoke." Since Ladder Co. 3 is downtown, it was one of the first units to respond. "When the towers collapsed," Mrs. Giordano said, "I knew he was in one of them."
Mr. Giordano, who joined the Fire Department in 1987, was assigned to Ladder Co. 3 from the start. His fellow firefighters became an important part of his life. "Jeff is treasured in the memory of those who knew him as a 'brother,' a fireman whose professional joy was to be among his fellow firefighters," Mrs. Giordano said. "In spite of his singular bravery, it was his habit to give the credit to others." In an interview in the spring, he told the Daily News: "We just pull them out. It's the doctors and nurses who save their lives."
Mr. Giordano was a highly decorated firefighter. Among his many honors and citations was the Albert Johnson Award for saving two people trapped in a blazing building. The Life Saving Benevolent Society honored Mr. Giordano for diving into the East River to save a drowning man. In March, he received the Hero of the Month Award given by the Daily News for saving the life of a 21-year-old woman he found unconscious in a burning apartment. He was recognized for bravery and citizenship by the Fire Department Honor Legion, the American Legion and the City Council. He wore a chest full of medals on his dress uniform.
While living in Westchester County, he was a member of the South Salem Volunteer Fire Department, where his helmet was retired last week at a memorial service. Mr. Giordano, a native of Brooklyn, moved to Staten Island four years ago. A man of powerful focus and endurance, Mr. Giordano participated in more than 15 marathons. He ran daily and logged more than 50,000 miles.
Mrs. Giordano said many people, learning he was missing in the World Trade Center collapse, have contacted her with stories of how he inspired them to achieve more in their lives. He was vice president and a member of the board of the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation. He was dedicated to raising funds for the New York Presbyterian Burn Center. Mr. Giordano was a devoted husband and father who took his children everywhere. "It was important to him that they be involved in the community," Mrs. Giordano said. He was the soccer coach for the Intrepids, the team his son, Nicholas, played on.
Mr. and Mrs. Giordano were childhood sweethearts who celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary in August. "Life is empty without him but I am thankful he has given me three beautiful children, the greatest gift in the world," Mrs. Giordano said. "I will always feel his presence for when I look at his gift, I will always see him. "Oh, how I miss him and love him." Surviving, in addition to his wife, Marie, and his son, Nicholas, are two daughters, Victoria and Alexandra; his mother, Jessie, and a sister, Debbie Caputo. His brother, Chris, died three years ago.
In line with other honors from a grateful community he has had a street renamed after him. It is Jeffrey Giordano Boulevard, located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Hylan Boulevard and Page Avenue.
I see tributes that state, "Never Forget." I won't. I will always remember that day, what I was doing, how I learned about it, and how it has changed me but I still feel that I should remember Jeffery Giordano. Tomorrow I will be on post and at the time that the first plane flew into the tower the PA will play Taps. I will stop, turn, and salute the flag. At that moment I will remember Jeffrey Giordano the way he should be remembered. You should too. Don't remember him as a victim, remember him as the man he was. I will.