Memories of Vincent Danz
Brother: Vin was a true American hero
Thank you so much for honoring my brother Vincent, a true American hero and my best friend!
He lives in my heart and those of countless many. I am a better man for having Vin in my life and that is true of many others as well. I am flying to NYC with my son Quinn (who is Vincent’s godson) and we will commemorate the 10th anniversary while honoring Vincent and those who made the ultimate sacrifice that very sad day.
All gave some, some gave all!
On August 11, 2001, Southampton High School's Class of 1981 celebrated its 20th year reunion. "Vinnie" was observing while I helped coordinate the dinner and the evening's activities and finally said to me "Dale, take a few minutes to sit down and enjoy dinner." I am grateful I took heed in his words and ultimately sat down in my chair, which was directly across from Vinnie's. Here we enjoyed a final conversation with each other.
On September 11, 2001, Vinnie perished while trying to help others. His memorial service was surreal and more than my brain could process. Standing on the steps of the church and as far as my eyes could see, in either direction was a sea of uniforms. Hundreds of men and women of law enforcement had come to honor and pay tribute to our classmate, our friend. Vinnie's younger daughters, in beautiful dresses, ran around the foyer of the church seemingly unaware of what was happening, or perhaps (like many of us) unable to comprehend Vinnie's passing and all that it stood for. During the service Vinnie's oldest daughter spoke as if her father were alive and in the church with all of those who loved and sorely missed him. I could not even see, for tears of sadness poured down my face. I will never forget that day. Tears still fill my eyes when I think about how brave his children and wife all appeared to be.
On October 11, 2001 while visiting my parents who were vacationing/camping in Pennsylvania, I took note of another camping site displaying a sign bearing the last name of Winifred Danz's fiance. As it turned out, camping right across from my family (much like I had sat right across from Vinnie two months prior) were the relatives of the man who was supposed to marry Vinnie's sister had they both not been murdered in the Hamptons several years prior. The coincidence of being out of state, one month to the day of Vinnie's death, and being in such close proximity to Vinnie's future extended family struck me as surreal! At that moment, I promptly decided to stay home on November 11, 2001!
During the weekend of August 12th thru 14th, 2011, the Class of 1981 from Southampton High School celebrated its 30th high school class reunion. Although Vinnie was not with us physically, we believe he was with us in spirit. And although we had planned to memorialize him and other classmates who have passed with a lovely service at "Officer Vincent Danz" Road near the ocean in Southampton, the weather did not permit that. So, at an alternate location, we sang beautiful hymns like "Amazing Grace" and spoke about Vinnie and our other classmates with loving thoughts. We hope he knows how special he was to us and that we will never forget him and the friendships he made with the members of the Class of 1981 from Southampton High School. We love and miss you Vinnie!
Dale Edgar Phillips, Southampton, NY