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Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11/2001: Remembering Captain Danny Levy and all the heroes of 9/11

Fifteen years ago today the world stopped turning.  Many people left their homes that morning, kissing their children and their spouse good bye, not realizing it would be their final kiss in this life time. Their family's life was about to change forever.  Others suffered from 9/11 related cancer and died years later but the events of 9/11/2001 certainly changed their lives and the lives of their families forever.  Today I am remembering one of those who contracted a 9/11 related cancer and was lost 13 years after that tragic day.  Captain Danny Levy of the Plainview Volunteer Fire Department.  Captain Levy spent weeks after 9/11 working to recover the remains of those lost.  First lets recall the events of that day.

At 8:46 a.m. EST the world changed forever when a plane struck Tower 1 of the World Trade Center in New York City.  At 9:03 a.m. the second tower is hit. At 9:37 a.m. another jet crashes into the Pentagon. At 10:03 a.m., a plane headed towards the White House or the United States Capitol Building, crashed into a field near Pittsburgh.

Deaths that day approached 3,000 with over 6,000 injured.  Included in those numbers were 343 firefighters responding to the World Trade Center.  This was the largest number of casualties for F.D.N.Y. in any one day.  Even today, fifteen years later, the causalities mount as brave men and women are still dying from 9/11 related cancer.

This hits home because as a young man I was a member of the Plainview Volunteer Fire Department. My brother is a past Chief of that Department and responded to the World Trade Center on a mutual aid.  We were fortunate my brother survived and is fine today.  Another member of our Department eventually succumb to 9/11 related cancer his name is Captain Danny Levy.

Danny Levy has a unique story.  He was a veteran of the Israeli military and joined the Plainview Volunteer Fire Department in 1999.  He loved the United States and its people. He wanted to make a difference.  Danny was a man who put others before self. He made many trips to ground zero to work recovering victims.  He told family and friends that if before 9/11, he would have known he would have developed a 9/11 related cancer that would take his life, he would have still made those trips.

Captain Levy was a dedicated man, a hero, one of many.  I choose to write about Captain Levy this year as he is a man I got to know after 9/11. When I would visit the Plainview  Volunteer Fire Department on my trips home and Captain Levy was always welcoming. In spite of his suffering he always had a smile on his face and a good word for all. Captain Levy was a fine human being, a true inspiration and a wonderful leader.

Right up until the end Captain Levy was a firefighter, a teach and a caring human being.  It is fitting that his final Facebook post just hours before his death was a picture used in firefighter training his comment "If you can read the smoke, than you know that this room is about to ignite any second now, so, jump or die burning."  Ironically, his final message was one designed to save the lives of his brother firefighters.

In the years to come I will try to put a human face on the tragedy of 9/11 and hope that we truly never forget.  God bless, Captain Levy and God bless all the heroes of 9/11.