Marine out to avenge 9/11 agony


On Sept. 11, 2001, John Vigiano lost two sons - one a firefighter, the other a cop. Now, their memory is about to be carried into Iraq by Vigiano's 19-year-old great-nephew, a Marine awaiting orders in Kuwait.

Yesterday, standing on a windy Long Island beach with other victims' families as plans for an oceanfront memorial were unveiled, Vigiano couldn't help thinking Lance Cpl. Tim Seiler was serving his family as well as his nation.

"He's representing his cousins and he's representing our country," said Vigiano. "We're concerned about his safety. But he's a tough kid."

The deaths of Detective Joseph Vigiano, 34, of the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit, and Firefighter John Vigiano, 36, are told in "Twin Towers," a short documentary that has been nominated for an Oscar.

Vigiano and his wife, Jeanette, are set to leave for Los Angeles and will be in the audience Sunday when the Oscar-winning documentary is announced.

Vigiano, a 64-year-old retired FDNY captain and ex-Marine from Deer Park, L.I., believes Seiler and his fellow soldiers are about to write the next chapter in America's fight against terror.

"It's a big plus for me," Vigiano said. "It tells the families we're doing something."

When the first bombs fell on Iraq last night, Seiler's mobile satellite communications unit was believed to be in Kuwait.

In a recent E-mail, Seiler, of Patchogue, L.I., let Vigiano know his cousins were on his mind. "I'm over here, uncle," he wrote. "It's a little scary. ... But I know I have to be here. This is my way of paying them back for what they did to you and the boys."

Vigiano spoke yesterday as he led a group of victims' families on Long Island who have been working with officials in Babylon to design a $2 million 9/11 memorial on the oceanfront at Cedar Beach.

Originally published on March 20, 2003