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Detective Joseph Vigiano | New York City Police Department, New York New York City Police Department, New York

Detective

Joseph Vigiano

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch: Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 34

Tour: 14 years

Badge # 4511

Cause: Terrorist attack

Weapon: Aircraft; Passenger jet

Offender: 19 suicide attackers

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Detective Joseph Vigiano was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while attempting to rescue the victims trapped in the World Trade Center. He was assigned to ESU Truck 2.

Detective Vigiano was one of the department's most decorated officers. He had been shot and wounded on three separate occasions during his career. Detective Vigiano had been employed with the New York City Police Department for 14 years, and is survived by his wife and three young sons. His brother, a New York City firefighter, was also killed in the attack.

Detective Vigiano was posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department's Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed two of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. After the impact of the first plane, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the first tower unexpectedly collapsed due as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The second tower collapsed a short time later. 71 law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill, and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding. During the raid, they shot and killed bin Laden.

Please click here to visit the memorials of all of the law enforcement officers killed in this terrorist attack.

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75 Steady late tours, and long hours at BCB is where I had the privilege of walking for a moment in time with Mike Curtin and Joe Vigiano. Often, the name "Sons of Thunder" will come to mind when thinking of them.

There was just something about these two. Joe; Quick, Bold, Fearless. Fearless. Yet seeming to carry within a deep, poignant sense of compassion. Perhaps it's what fueled him. Mike; A Rock. Solid, Restrained, Intelligent. A Powerhouse. Yet possessed of an almost unbearable grace.

If someone were to tell me that they were only ever on loan to us from the heavens, I would believe them. If someone were to say this is an example of what God's Angels look like when living as mortal men, I would believe them. No, not the harp playing kind. The warrior kind. God's policemen.

It seems so right that they were together in life. So, I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that they were taken together at the end of their time here. But it still hurts.

Mike, Joe; It was an honor to have known you, and impossible to forget you. I trust you are safe home, and Semper Fi.

Police Officer
Retired NYPD
February 27, 2015

 

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