By following in their parents' footsteps and dedicating their lives to service and sacrifice, these young graduates are continuing their family legacy.
There is no better way to honor a loved one's memory than by following in their footsteps. That's exactly what 13 New York City Fire Department Training Academy students did when they graduated. Their parents were all firefighters who helped rescue civilians during or because of medical complications caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, CBS News reports. In order to keep their parents' memories alive and do justice to their legacies, these young graduates have chosen to dedicate their entire lives to community, protection, and service. We're sure that no matter where their parents may be today, they were watching that graduation ceremony and beaming with unrelenting pride.
Congratulating the recent graduates, especially those whose families were there for the United States and New York City when they needed them the most, Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro stated, "They are honoring their fallen loved ones. They are continuing their family’s legacy of service and they are making all of us immensely proud. These legacies are no longer children dreaming of the careers their fathers loved and of serving in the world’s greatest fire department. Today, they fully achieved their dreams." Reportedly, this is the first time in history a probationary class was filled with such a large number of graduates who were related to 9/11 victims.
For Rebecca and Marc Asaro, graduating from the FDNY Training Academy and dedicating themselves to service and sacrifice is a part of their family legacy. In an interview with CBS News, they revealed more. Rebecca Asaro affirmed, "It's a big accomplishment, very challenging but we all stuck together and got by." Of course, the weeks and months immediately following the attacks were incredibly hard on the Asaro family. But the FDNY family helped them overcome their loss. "I kept asking my mom when my father was coming home. She didn't have an answer," she continued. "The guys were stepping up and just always there, whatever we needed. And it just continued for years... I feel like my dad's with me every step of the way and it brings me a little closer to him." Sibling Marc added, "My father gave his life for this job, you know. And so many other people did. And it's just, it's a very rewarding job."
On the other hand, graduate Greg Kumpel discussed how he sacrificed his dreams as a young boy in order to do justice to his father Kenneth's legacy in an interview with NY1. Though it was his brother who truly wanted to join this line of service, he was eventually inspired by both his brother and by all the stories he heard of 9/11 heroes. He said, "We needed something to get through that tough part, those few months were such a blur. Emotionally numb. So, to have those stories to lighten the mood helped us through those tough times." But Greg isn't the only one who wanted to make his dad proud. Robert Tilearcio, another graduate, did too. "Making my dad proud. Definitely something that he always wanted me to do and I took the FDNY test the same month that my father passed away of 9/11-related cancer," he stated. "Our fathers are watching over us today." Indeed, they are. And we're sure they're immensely proud.