Steve has written the forward to a book called A Salute To Bravery. This book of childrens' poems , hand drawings and computerized pictures was authored by the kids of Belle Harbor, New York, that have not only suffered from the loss of over 77 community members on 9/11 but also had to deal with the crash of American flight #586.

Not available in any stores, this book was sent to over 400 family members of lost firefighters of Sept 11th. There are now only 1200 remaining copies for sale through the publisher. This is a limited edition. All proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to Steve Buscemi's old firehouse, FDNY Engine #55.

If you would like to help Steve support New York City's Bravest by buying this priceless keepsake book, please write your check for $20 (this includes shipping) made out to Engine #55, and then e-mail your name, address and phone number to the editor, Christina Russell, at Please reference the Indie King site in your email.

Engine #55
c/o Christina Russell
234 Beach 129th Street
Belle Harbor, NY 11694

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Photo courtesy of Ray Curiale, FDNY E55 Retired

The day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Steve Buscemi, who worked as a firefighter from 1980-1984, showed up at his old fire station, Engine Company No. 55 in the Little Italy section of New York.

For the next week he worked 12-hour shifts, digging through the rubble trying to find the bodies of missing firefighters, all the while refusing to do interviews or have his picture taken.

"It was a privilege to be able to do it," the 45-year-old actor said. "It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn't really think about it as much, feel it as much.

"It wasn't until I stopped that I really felt the full impact of what had happened. It would have been much harder for me to get through it if I hadn't been able to do that."

Photo courtesy of Ray Curiale, FDNY E55 Retired Photo courtesy of Ray Curiale, FDNY E55 Retired

Steve Buscemi might have been a senior firefighter by now - if only he had stuck with it. He's still in touch with friends at the New York Fire Department, and went back there for a medal ceremony only recently in honour of a lieutenant who took part in a rescue last year. But Steve Buscemi played his part with "the bravest", as America's firemen are known, from 1980 - 1984 and moved on. Yet, he continues to support his firefighter brothers whenever they are in need.

Doomed Fire Heroes' Rig Unburied at Ground Zero

Courtesy of The New York Post

Photo courtesy of Ray Curiale, FDNY E55 RetiredRecovery crews combing through debris from the north tower at Ground Zero found a firetruck yesterday - buried some 40 below street level.

"I just think it's ironic that it's appearing now [six months after Sept. 11]," said Robin Freund, whose husband, Peter, a lieutenant, was one of five men killed from Engine Co. 55 in Little Italy.

She said members of her husband's company had been out to Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island to look for the company's missing truck - little suspecting it was still buried deep within the wreckage at Ground Zero.

The members of Engine 55 parked the truck next to the north tower before rushing in to help rescue the people inside - and when the building collapsed it apparently sucked the empty truck down with it.

"They were one of the first two companies there. That's probably why [the truck was buried so deep]," said Freund, who is raising the couple's four children.

She said her husband's colleagues called her after going to Ground Zero to look at the buried truck and told her it was "unrecognizable."

But they did manage to remove a door and take it back to the firehouse, where they included it in a memorial to Lt. Freund, 46, and the others who perished with him, firefighters Faustino Apostol, 56, Stephen Russell, 38, Robert Lane, 30, and Christopher Mozzillo, 28.

The bodies of all but Mozzillo have been recovered from the rubble.

"We're very happy we found the rig, we just hope we can find our last man," said firefighter Rich Cipoletti, at the firehouse. "We hope we can bring him back home."

Firefighter Paul Acciarito said of the find, "I'm ecstatic. It's almost like she was waiting for us to find her."

He said having a piece of the truck in the firehouse "brings back the horrible memories of that day but I'm glad its back. A part of our heart came back."

Songs of Freedom/Tears of Remembrance

The following is an excerpt from a five-part journal detailing one man's crusade to bring healing to a New York firehouse after Sept. 11, and in doing so, heal himself.

Barrington stockbroker Joe Cantafio is on a year-long concert tour to raise money for the widows and bereaved families of Engine Company 55, who lost five men at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

In July 2002, Cantafio went to New York City to spend a week with Engine 55 and raise money with several club appearances. Daily Herald staff writer Jim Fuller and photographer Mark Welsh went along. They stayed in the firehouse in Little Italy, sleeping and eating alongside the men of Engine 55.

Fuller kept a journal of that extraordinary week. In part one, they arrive in New York, meet the firefighters and see ground zero for the first time.

Photo courtesy of Ray Curiale, FDNY E55 Retired At night, it's show time. Joe plays his first show at an Irish tavern called "Molly Wee," where many of the Chicago rescue crews would go for a break after digging. It's not a neighborhood bar. Salt and pepper shakers sit on the tables and the waiters wear shirts and ties.

Waiting inside is a face from Engine 55's past. Steve Buscemi was with Engine 55 before Hollywood came calling. His face is recognizable to millions, but tonight he's just a firefighter again. At one point he blends in so well that a woman asks him to watch the men's room door for her while she goes in to use the facilities instead of the crowded ladies room.

He's not dressed for the red carpet tonight with black pants and a short-sleeve, deep-orange, button-up shirt. But tonight, class has no position. Some Budweiser reps show up in their suits and ties, but they mix right in with the jean shorts and sandals and start buying beer for everyone.

Buscemi put on his gear and dug at ground zero with the rest of them.

click to enlargeTonight, he sings almost every song from "We Won't Get Fooled Again" to "Born to Run."

There are smiles again.

As they sing, footage of Sept. 11 plays on MSNBC during a story about the attacks. The firefighters don't see it - the television is over their heads.

It is an odd mix of tragedy and recovery.

Joe does a four-hour set, without a break, finally wrapping up close to 1 a.m. Buscemi walks over to Joe and hugs him at the end. "I didn't get it before, but now I do. This is a great thing you're doing for New York."

Firefighters: Show Us The Money

By William Murphy, Vera Haller and Mike

October 11, 2002

A relentless rain did little to dampen the mood of thousands of firefighters rallying for higher wages in Central Park Friday, their anger stoked by a profanity-laced speech from bad-boy comedian Denis Leary.

�Take the 11 percent and stick it ... , Mr. Mayor,� Leary said, delighting the soaked crowd.

�I�m tired of presidents, governors, senators, politicians, getting your pictures taken at �� wakes and funerals. Actions speak louder than words, � he said.

The firefighters union Thursday rejected of a contract offering an 11.5 percent raise over 30 months.

The union�s executive board had approved the agreement in August of last year � before the World Trade Center attack the following month that left 343 members of the fire service dead.

Leary, who lost his cousin, firefighter Jerry Lucey, in a warehouse fire in Worcester, Mass., in 1999, said the public did not understand how underpaid firefighters were.

�These guys shouldn�t have to worry about second and third jobs and their kids� tuition, and they should be able to see their kids,� Leary said.

The rally was a prelude to Saturday�s memorial service for fallen firefighters at Madison Square Garden, expected to draw emergency workers from around the nation.

While the East Meadow was a sea of umbrellas and rain slickers, the rally clearly fell short of the turnout expected by the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

�This is just a little water,� said the Stephen Cassidy, president of the union. �We�ve been through much more. Let�s get a raise.�

Many of the protesters carried placards, including one that read �I�m a New York City firefighter. I can�t afford an umbrella.� Another sign read, �A million thanks won�t pay a mortgage.�

click to enlargeSpeakers included politicians, widows and celebrities. Actor Steve Buscemi, who once worked at Engine 55 in Manhattan, got a particularly warm welcome.

�We could never thank you enough,� Buscemi yelled to the crowd from a podium inside the park at 98th and Fifth Avenue. �We can never pay you enough.�

Firefighters, who after five years on the job make about $59,000 annually including overtime and some benefits, said they just wanted to be compensated fairly.

�I�m out here because we need a raise,� said Frank Doherty of Ladder Company 162 in Queens. �The city always has excuses why not to give us one. We�re out here to tell them the excuses are over.�

Marian Fontana, the widow of firefighter David Fontana and president of the Sept. 11 Widow and Victims Family Association, told the crowd how she and her husband struggled to survive on a firefighter�s salary.

She drew rousing applause when she called New York City�s firefighters �the underpaid soldiers on the front line� in the war against terrorism.

The city�s deepening fiscal crisis � which has even included talk of possibly closing select fire companies � may make any resolution tough to come by.

Cassidy said he would reopen talks with the city, but a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg held out little hope that anything would change.

�We will continue to negotiate in good faith, but the city�s fiscal crisis really limits what we can afford,� mayoral spokesman Jerry Russo said Friday. Copyright � 2003, Newsday, Inc.

Excerpt from Interview

You were once a fireman in Manhattan. Were you also acting during that time?

I was a fireman for four years, from 1980 to '84. My first year on the job, I didn't do any acting, even though I had gone to school for acting and had done some stand-up comedy before I took the job. But after I had been on the job for about a year, I started going back to acting classes. It was around that time that I met Mark Boone and we started doing our own work. And then I started working with the theater group Willem Dafoe was with. I was constantly doing theater, and the first couple of films I did, I was still with the fire department -- Engine 55, in Little Italy. I was in the engine company, which means we were responsible for getting in there with the hose and putting out the fire.

Were there any situations that were particularly hairy?

Well, they're all frightening. Any time you go into a burning building, there's the potential for disaster. I never had any real close calls, though there's no such thing as a routine fire.

Why did you become a firefighter?

My dad had encouraged me to take the civil service test when I was 18. So I did, and I kind of forgot about it until my name came up on the list four years later. By then I was living in Manhattan, working as a furniture mover during the day, doing stand-up comedy at night and looking for a change. I liked the job -- the guys I worked with and the nature of the work. I think I would have been happy doing it if I hadn't had a greater passion for acting.

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