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13 firefighters who lost their dads on 9/11 graduate from FDNY academy

A group of 13 firefighters who lost their fathers on 9/11 graduated on Tuesday. New York City Fire Department/Facebook

In an emotional ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 24, a group of firefighters who lost their fathers in the 9/11 terror attacks graduated from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Training Academy.

Thirteen of the graduates’ fathers died on Sept. 11, 2001, six of them from illnesses related to the tragedy that saw two hijacked planes crash into the towers of the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan.

READ MORE: Fallen firefighters of 9/11 remembered at Lethbridge memorial ceremony

“Many of their fathers were killed on September 11, several others died of World Trade Center illnesses, and others lost their lives in the course of their duty, bravely working to save and protect others,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said to the audience.

“Today, these 21 legacies are no longer children dreaming of their careers their fathers loved, and of serving in the world’s greatest fire department,” Nigro continued.

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Nigro also pointed out that this year’s graduating class has an historic number of female firefighters graduating.

“This group is historic in another way as well,” he said. “There are 16 female probationary firefighters in this class. That’s the second-largest group of female firefighters to ever graduate in the fire academy in a single class.”

READ MORE: ‘I want people to remember’: Victims and survivors of 9/11 honoured 18 years on

The group spent 18 weeks in intensive training with the academy.

The FDNY shared heartwarming stories of some of their graduates on their Facebook page.

Siblings Rebecca and Marc Asaro both became probationary firefighters that day, and shared their own stories. Their father, Carl Asaro, died on 9/11.

“Every day that I came to the academy, I was grateful to be there and to follow in the footsteps of my father, brothers, uncle, and all those who came before,” Rebecca is quoted saying.

“This is exactly where I want to be.”

WATCH: (Sept. 12, 2018) Bald eagle lands on top of firetruck ladder during 9/11 ceremony

Click to play video: 'Bald eagle lands on top of firetruck ladder during 9/11 ceremony' Bald eagle lands on top of firetruck ladder during 9/11 ceremony
Bald eagle lands on top of firetruck ladder during 9/11 ceremony – Sep 12, 2018

Their two siblings, Matthew and Carl Asaro, Jr., are firefighters as well.

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“I wish he could be here when I graduate,” probationary firefighter Robert Tilearcio, Jr. said of his father, Robert Tilearcio, who died of an illness related to his recovery and rescue work on 9/11.

READ MORE: Trump signs 9/11 victims’ compensation fund extension

“I took the civil service test the same month my father died. I knew he was happy to know I was heading in the right direction,” he is quoted saying in the photo caption.

“He worked with the Department for 35 years. I was always at his firehouse and from a young age, I knew this is what I wanted to do.

“I’ll be thinking about him when I get to my first fire.”

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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