I wrote this poem within a week after 9-11, and presented it to the Vigiano family after Joseph's funeral. Though I can only recall meeting my cousin Kay Owens' son-in-law, Joe, but once, it was for an act of charity. I remember his strong arms and his happy-to-help manner when (on a day off from work) he accompanied Kay's husband John on a moving job, moving my mother-in-law out of her house and into a condo. He wore his desire to help others like a well-worn favorite shirt. What a world this would be if we all were like him and put service above all else.
THE LOVING HANDS OF BROTHERS
Dedicated to Firefighter John Vigiano and Police Officer Joseph Vigiano
And all the brave heroes of the Attack on America
The loving hands of brothers rescue us from our despair,
As lost souls filled with hate destroy our towers in the air,
These mighty hands remind us yet what beauty God has made,
Big hearts with strength enough to conquer falling evil’s shade.
All around us shattered structures pulverize the street,
But courageous love still stands, intrinsic and concrete,
Billowed smoke and powder fill the sky with acrid smell,
But the air is full of what good humans do so well.
Our Bravest and Our Finest men and women never mope,
They embody all life’s greatness: love and faith and hope,
When they rush inside a falling tower to save lives,
Despairing mankind’s spirit lifts and suddenly revives.
Go do what e’er it is you do, renewed by these heroes,
Bless all human life unlike misguided brainwashed foe,
A mercy-filled response to other’s sorrow, each day say:
I can go on, I will go on, brave heroes show the way.
Stephen V. Walker, Oyster Bay
I worked with Joe in the NYPD Emergency Service Squad #2. Surviving 9/11 makes me one of the lucky ones that day, and our mission was to recover all of our lost friends. Our truck was lucky as we found our friends, Joe Vigiano, Sgt. Michael Curtin, and P.O. John D'Allara. We searched for many days and weeks with Joe's father present every day standing by with a strength and dignity I had never witnessed before and haven't since.
When we found Joe, ironically, it was not us comforting Mr. Vigiano, it was him providing a hug and words of comfort to myself and my brothers in ESU. There is not a day that goes by where the memory of Joe, Mike, and John as well as the other E- Men lost that day are forgotten.
Joe was a character, always making you laugh, protecting you from unseen dangers, and being available to you whenever you may need. I miss him and the others terribly. I have unfortunately lost touch with Mr. Vigiano. He is above and beyond what a father should be.
[In] response to, 'Did you know Joseph Vigiano?' No I did not. But, I wear a medal 'Remembrance' bracelet honoring him every Sept. 11. Let me explain ...
I am a 27-year veteran of the Houston, Texas Police Department and was given the bracelet from my sister and brother-in-law, who are members of the Deer Park, Texas Fire Department. They were present at a ceremony shortly after the tragedy and received the bracelet. They consequently gave it to me as I am the law enforcement side of our family.
I did not know Joseph Vigiano, but from what I have read about him, he sounds like one helluva a man. He and the others who entered the Towers that day knew in the back of their head what was probably going to happen, but they went in anyway. It takes special people to do that, so I proudly wear and speak Joseph's name every year.
Anthony VanDorn, Friendswood, Texas
Senior Officer - Houston Police Department