September 11, 2001, a familiar face from Hollywood stepped into the role of a real-life hero. Actor Steve Buscemi, renowned for his portrayals of complex characters, including gangsters and misfits, reconnected with his past as a New York City firefighter.
For several days following the devastating events at the World Trade Center, Buscemi dedicated himself to the grueling work alongside fellow firefighters. Together, they embarked on 12-hour shifts, tirelessly combing through the rubble in search of survivors.
Buscemi's connection to the fire department runs deep. At the age of 18, he had taken the civil service test for the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY). In the 1980s, he served as an FDNY firefighter in downtown Manhattan before pursuing his acting career.
Despite his transition into the entertainment industry, Buscemi has maintained a close bond with firefighter causes. He has lent his voice to union rallies, shedding light on the challenges faced by these brave men and women. Additionally, he took on the role of host for the HBO documentary "A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY," sharing the remarkable narratives of his firefighting brethren.
Reflecting on his experience during the rescue efforts, Buscemi expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contribute. He acknowledged the privilege of reconnecting with the firehouse he once called home and the comrades he had worked alongside. Immersed in the demanding work, Buscemi found solace, explaining, "While I was working, I didn't really think about it as much, feel it as much."
In 2013, the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page reminded the world of Buscemi's selfless act of courage. Sharing a picture of the actor-turned-firefighter, they highlighted his lesser-known identity as one of New York's Bravest. The post revealed that Buscemi had taken the FDNY civil service test at the age of 18 and served in Engine Co. 55, one of FDNY's busiest units, located in Manhattan's vibrant Little Italy.
Following the tragic events of 9/11, Brother Buscemi returned to FDNY Engine 55, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow firefighters. For days on end, he labored through 12-hour shifts, diligently sifting through the wreckage of the World Trade Center, hoping to find survivors. Buscemi's commitment to the cause was unwavering, yet he shied away from the spotlight, declining interviews and remaining unseen in photographs. His actions spoke louder than words.
Beyond his heroic efforts, Buscemi has been an advocate for the welfare of firefighters. Recognizing the selfless nature of these individuals, he emphasized the importance of addressing their own needs, as they often prioritize the well-being of others. Speaking about their resilience, Buscemi stated, "Firefighters are great at helping others, they're great at helping each other. But they're not always aware that they, themselves, are in need."
September 11, 2001, forever stands as a reminder of the sacrifices made by firefighters. Among the 343 who gave their lives protecting and rescuing others, Steve Buscemi's courageous return to the FDNY shows that we can never give up and stay inspired.
Watch his powerful story in this video below:
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(via The Wall Street Journal)