Yet another year has passed since September 11, 2001. Thank you to all of you, our brothers and sisters who stood with us in the aftermath and who continue to remember our darkest day. Today, as we pause to remember, please also include in your hearts and remembrance those who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11 from WTC related illnesses.

September 11th is a difficult day for not only myself and the 9/11 community, but for the world. It brings back so many painful memories from sixteen years ago. However, I firmly believe that we must channel our pain to do something positive and educate people about the events of 9/11. If a new member of your department was not on the job that day, take the time to make sure they understand why we said we would “NEVER FORGET”.

As Billy always reminds us, “Take care. Be Careful. Pass it on.” Take time in your department to plan ahead. How would you respond to a terrorist attack? The #1 finding of the 9/11 Commission was that we never imagined it would happen. Take the time to be prepared.

If you are in NYC, I welcome you to come to the 9/11 Tribute Center www.tributewtc.org. Located right next to FDNY 10/10 firehouse, on the south side of the WTC site, it is a special place where families, survivors, first responders and residents of the WTC are able to share their stories with students and visitors from around the world.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 – here in New York, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA and with all who have become ill since the attacks. You paid the ultimate price for your commitment to serve others.

In loving memory of my son, Jonathan Ielpi, FDNY Squad 288, and all of our brothers.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.

Lee Ielpi