Fireman Ed remembers lost friends

Fireman Ed leading the Jets fans in his signature chant.

There was never a moment when “Fireman Ed,” the iconic Jets fan who raucously leads the green and white faithful in chants and cheers, thought that he wasn’t going to go to Sunday night’s season opener against Dallas. The former Harlem firefighter, now retired, was entering his 15th year as a New York City fireman on Sept. 11, 2001.

Ed Anzalone lived and grew up in Queens and is proud of his career as a fireman which began in Brooklyn before moving on to Harlem. He had just ended a shift that morning and was home when one plane — then two — slammed into the World Trade Center towers. There was no immediate call for Anzalone or his truck to report to Ground Zero, but as Anzalone watched the smoke pouring from the buildings, he quickly grasped the tragedy.

And as he feared for those in the buildings, the danger his fellow firefighters would face came to light.

“I knew when those buildings were hit, a lot of our guys were going to die that day,” Anzalone told Metro.

Stations in Lower Manhattan were the first to respond, then Midtown and Brooklyn. His station in Harlem waited in frustration for a phone call sending them down to help in the search for survivors. The phone finally rang and his truck drove down to the pile of twisted concrete and rubble the following night.

As Anzalone stood there, surveying the site where two towers stood, the full magnitude of the loss enveloped him. He calls it “tragic” to do this day and “overwhelming.”

“What can you say? You know what will stay with me forever? There were 1,500 people whose remains were never recovered. People, when they knew their loved ones weren’t coming — people had a service or a wake with a closed casket, to get some sort of closure,” Anzalone said. “They found the remains, and they have another service. I never got over that.”

Three hundred and forty-three firefighters were lost. Like his brethren, Anzalone attended more funerals than he can remember. He can’t even begin to count how many friends and people he knew that he lost on that day. There were friends he grew up with, went to academy with, played against in different leagues and of course, the firefighters who befriended him and sought him out at Jets games.

“Going to so many funerals, that was tough,” Anzalone said. “You watch the kids grow up, growing up without a father. You try to do what you can to help, whatever you can.”

And on Sunday, Anzalone’s passion for the Jets came face-to-face with a poignant day for him and those firefighters like him who responded to help save lives. There was never a point where Anzalone didn’t consider spending three hours on Sunday night inside MetLife Stadium as “Fireman Ed.”

“The anniversary of 9/11 will always be with me all year,” Anzalone said. “The sensation you see now, it will leave. The press? They will leave. How I honor that day, remember it — it has nothing to do with football or the game that night.”

Follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for Jets news all season long.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal prosecutors charge 3 men in multi-million dollar…

Federal prosecutors in New York charged three men in connection with a $33 million fine art scam that spanned more than two decades.

Local

Metro-North unveils solar-powered kiosks at Bronx station

The Woodlawn station will take part a pilot program to test solar-powered kiosk with real-time arrival and departure times for connecting services.

Local

Central Park's Tavern on the Green to reopen…

The famous Central Park restaurant Tavern on the Green will once again welcome diners on Thursday, April 24 after its closure in January 2010.

National

University of New Mexico running back arrested for…

By Joseph J. KolbALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - A University of New Mexico football player has been arrested on suspicion of raping and kidnapping a…

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

The Word

What we learned from the premiere of 'True…

Does watching someone's marriage implode make for great TV? The show runners at "True Tori" think Tori Spelling's heartbreak is hot stuff indeed.

NBA

Nets settle for 1-1 series tie with Game…

DeMar DeRozan, who was an All-Star this season, hit two huge jumpers back-to-back to give the Raptors an 89-85 lead over the Nets with 2:10 to play.

NHL

Rangers reclaim home ice with Game 3 road…

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period for the second straight game. This time, they held on.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Jason Kidd reacts to Mike Woodson being fired…

Jason Kidd played for Mike Woodson last year and Joe Johnson spent four seasons being the main focus on offense for Woodson in Atlanta.

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.