In Palm Harbor, a retired New York City firefighter remembers his son who died after the Sept. 11 attacks

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – A September 11th memorial service was held at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens to mark the 22nd anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“It doesn’t mark the day my son was murdered, it marks history,” said Lee Ielpi, a retired firefighter from New York.

Lee Ielpi’s son Jonathan Lee Ielpi was also a firefighter in New York City. In 911 he gave his life to save others.

“It is of great benefit to our country to understand what happened 22 years ago,” Ielpi said.

Jonathan was 29 years old and was part of Squad 288 when he responded to the World Trade Center.

“This fire department, which also includes the hazardous materials unit, sent 19 men to the World Trade Center,” Ielpi said. “It’s the worst death toll in the fire department, all 19 men, no one went home.”

Ielpi says his son called him as he responded to the tragedy. Unfortunately, it was the last time Ielpi heard his son’s voice.

“He knew what was going to happen. I don’t mean the towers would fall, but he knew I would come in and try to help.”

John Norman is also a retired New York City firefighter. He was on his first day of vacation when he received an urgent call.

“I made my way to the trade center site and spent about seven weeks there over the next few weeks,” recalls Norman.

During the tragedy, Norman served as search and rescue manager at the WTC and as head of the special forces unit.

“Special forces chief who lost 95 people that day, it was long, lost a lot of friends, it was a hard, hard time,” he said.

Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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