A Sign of Their Sacrifice
Portion of Lindenhurst road renamed to honor firefighters

By Thai Jones

August 4, 2002

For Joseph Angelini and his son Joseph Jr., Hoffman Avenue in Lindenhurst was a road well traveled.

Every workday they drove it to meet the train that would carry them to their jobs fighting fires as members of the FDNY. Joseph Sr., 63, was the senior member of Brooklyn's Rescue Company 1; his son worked at Manhattan Ladder Company 4. Both were killed when the Twin Towers collapsed Sept. 11.

"Hoffman Avenue was the place where they'd say goodbye to their first love, their families, to go off to their second," Mary Angelini said of her father and brother.

Yesterday, in Lindenhurst's village square, about 200 people came to see a portion of Hoffman Avenue rechristened Angelini Avenue in honor of the fallen firefighters. The new name will apply to the 1.8-mile stretch of road parallel to the southern side of the Long Island Rail Road tracks that run through the village.

Dignitaries sat in the gazebo while spectators in light summer clothes fanned themselves with their programs, and a solemn phalanx of firefighters stood silently toward the rear of the square. Bells, flags, drums and bagpipes dignified the occasion.

Mary Angelini, 30, said some of her earliest memories were of dropping her father off for the train as he went in to work. Years later, she often met her brother there on his way home.

"They would be surprised today that someone would take the time to name a street after them," Mary Angelini said. "They were doing what they loved. They were doing it for who they loved. And they would come home at the end of the day on this very street and go back to the families that were the most important thing in their lives."

Officials believed a tribute was in order. "It's hard to imagine that there could be two people more worthy of a permanent memorial," said Legis. David Bishop (D-West Babylon). "No family in America better represents our nation's overwhelming sense of loss."

"To me the symbolism of renaming a road goes beyond a permanent tribute to their memory," said Lindenhurst Mayor Lynda Distler. "It will serve to remind us of the sacrifices made that day by Joe Sr. and Joe Jr. and countless others."

Yesterday would have been Joseph Jr.'s 39th birthday. Unveiling the new street signs and looking into the cameras, his wife, Donna, 37, wore a stoic expression. Inside she was anything but calm.

"It broke my heart," she said. "I never expected to see my husband's name on a sign. It means that something horrific happened."

She said her husband used to drive down Hoffman Avenue often: to shop at Waldbaum's, to go to church or his parents' house.

"It's a road to everywhere," Donna said.