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2,996: The number of people felled on 9-11. As part of a blogging alliance, each person murdered on that day will be individually memorialized on the day of the fifth year of their death. It is personal, everyone had a life, a story. They are not a statistic. They are and were real, breathing, loving, and vibrantly alive human beings who were innocent!
The New York Fire Department has a tear-jerking tribute to the men who gave their lives that day.
I will remember one of those men today.
Lee S. Fehling.
Lee Fehling lived for 28 years, and was born in Wantagh in 1972. His mother remembers his good nature: "You know when the doctor slaps you on the back and the baby cries?" said his mother, Joan Bischoff. "Lee came out laughing."
Lee took both the police department and firefighter exams as soon as he turned 18. He was accepted into both, but would have to wait for three years before he was able to go to work.
When Lee Fehling turned 21, he joined the 109th precinct where he worked for five years.
During his lunch break, Fehling would play a chanter, an instrument similar to a flute, to hone his bagpiping skills. This young man was an accomplished musician, and was proficient with the saxophone, clarinet, piano, accordion and of course, the bagpipes, which were his favorite. He was a member of the Wantagh American Legion Bagpipe Band.
Lee Fehling was quite the cut-up, too. He was always behind a prank.
"I miss his smile and his sense of humor the most," his wife said. Danielle Fehling remembers when Lee called her friend, who had just purchased a new home, and told her that he was with Nassau County, and her fence was encroaching on her neighbor's property.
Lee kept her going for awhile!
He could never fool Danielle, though. "I could tell a mile away if he was up to something," she said.
Lee joined Engine Co. 235 in Bedford Stuyvesant. He had been working on the Company's round dinner table for months, painting a memorial shield to every man in the firehouse who had either been killed or was missing. The men of Engine Co. 235 have finished the memorial for Lee, and they have added him to it.
Lee Fehling left behind his wife, and two children. The youngest was born on October 18th, 2001, just a month and one week after her father died. She will know him only through his honorable memory. The children are now nine years and five years old.
Rest well, Lee S. Fehling. This country owes you and the family you leave behind a great debt. May we honor your memory, and remember your great sacrifice.
This post will also appear at Band Of Bloggers.