Bravery in the Face of Terror
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Bravery in the Face of Terror
Source: FAA Intercom
October 2001

Bob Macchia in the FAA's Eastern Region thinks
back to his wedding day 30 years ago.

His 4-year old nephew, Johnny Napolitano, is
walking down the aisle with the wedding rings
placed on a pillow.  "PeeWee," a nickname
that stuck with John as he grew older, took
the pillow and threw it across the aisle and made
a sour face.  Everyone is the church got a
kick out of his antics.

That day his Uncle Bob and Aunt Diane both
waited in anticipation to receive the rings from
their nephew and begin a new life together.

The Macchia family's wait today is much grimmer.
Like so many thousands of others, they wait to
see if John's body will be found in the rubble
of the World Trade Center.

Napolitano, 33, was a firefighter in Rescue Company
#2 of the New York City Fire Department.  His
company was one of the first units called to the
scene after the terrorist attack.

The unit was last seen climbing the North Tower
stairwells of the World Trade Center in the hopes
of helping victims.  The tower collapsed before
they could escape.

Bob Macchia chokes up when talk turns to the
recovery  process.  Anything that wasn't incinerated
in the 1000-degree heat from burning jet fuel was
probably pulverized beneath the tons of rubble.

"There will be no closure for this," he predicted
sadly.

He described his nephew as a true family man who
visited family spread out over the New York
City region.  "He was always there" for the
family functions.

Beyond his family, Johnny's life focused on helping
others.  Besides his job as a full-time firefighter
with the NYFD, John also volunteered with and
was a former captain of a Long Island rescue
squad.  "He dedicated his life to saving lives," his
uncle said.

It helps to know that his nephew died a hero,
Macchia says.  But that knowledge doesn't
disguise the sorrow in his voice when he lists
the names of Johnny's immediate family who
survive him:
His wife, Anne
Daughters, Elizabeth, 6 and Emma, 2
His mother, Joann and father, John
and
Two sisters, Dawn and Stacy.