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Thread: 9/11 Blood Brother

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    9/11 Blood Brother



    June 7, 2003 -- EXCLUSIVE

    The remains of 9/11 firefighter Michael Cammarata haven't been identified, but his family will finally lay him to rest today - burying a vial of his blood instead.

    "I think this is better than his remains because this blood ran through his body, this actually ran through his heart, and that's what these firefighters died with that day - their hearts," Cammarata's brother, Joseph, a firefighter with Engine Co. 157 in Staten Island, told The Post.

    Michael worked at Ladder Co. 11 in Manhattan for four months before he was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. At 22, Michael was the youngest firefighter killed in the terror attacks and one of six probationary firefighters to die that day.

    His family held a memorial service on Oct. 5, 2001, but they've been waiting - and praying - for his remains to be found so they could bury him.

    Last December, Michael's mother, Linda, read a Post story about how the National Marrow Donor Program has dozens of vials of blood that belonged to firefighters who were killed in the attack, Joseph said.

    Sure enough, one of them belonged to Michael.

    "Once my mother was strong enough to do it, we started to make plans," Joseph said. "It feels good. Now we won't have to go to a tombstone with nothing in the ground."

    FDNY spokesman David Billig said 144 of the 343 firefighters who died on Sept. 11 had donated blood.

    The Cammaratas are the first to bury a vial of blood in place of remains.

    Joseph said he wasn't surprised that his brother gave blood and never mentioned it to anyone.

    "These guys are ready to give their lives, they'll give blood, no problem," he said.

    Today's funeral service for Cammarata will be held at Our Lady of the Sea Church in Staten Island, nearly a year and a half after Michael died.

    Hundreds of people are expected, including Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    After long wait, kin burying hero's blood

    After long wait, kin burying hero's blood


    Since Sept. 11, 2001, relatives of fallen Firefighter Michael Cammarata, have been attending ceremonies held in his honor.
    Today, they will attend the most important - his funeral.

    Four weeks ago, the family decided to say farewell to Cammarata, 22, who died in the World Trade Center collapse and whose remains were never found.

    In place of his body, they will bury his blood.

    His brother Joseph Cammarata, 25, who joined the Fire Department last year and wears Michael's badge, No. 1138, said the coffin will hold a vial of blood Michael donated before he died, his dress uniform, pictures, letters to his girlfriend, hockey sticks and baseball gloves.

    "These are things that are very painful to do, but when you go to the cemetery there is a part of him that is buried there," said Cammarata, who described the anguish of his mother, Linda, as she packed the items.

    "It's going to be painful for a week or two weeks or a month, but in the long run it's going to be something that needed to be done," Cammarata said.

    The family learned about the blood three months after the terrorist attack but kept hoping that his remains would be found. The firefighter had given the sample to determine whether he could donate bone marrow.

    Cammarata said the family has found strength in a short to-do list "if anything was ever to happen to me" that Michael had printed and signed.

    It read: "1. Take care of Jenna," [his girlfriend] "2. Don't mourn me, this is the career I chose. 3. Make my spirit live on. 4. Remember I love you all and will be waiting for you upstairs."

    Cammarata said the ceremony will be a significant turning point for his mother, father, who also is named Joseph, and sister, Kimberly.

    "We can try and write a new chapter of our life," he said. "We have to accept that they are pretty much not going to find him and we have to put this to rest."

    The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Amboy Road in Staten Island, the same church where the family held a memorial service in October 2001.

    Originally published on June 7, 2003

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