On September 11, 2001 New York City’s Finest had their bravery tested during the largest terrorist attack in American history. Mets captain David Wright wanted to ensure that these great sacrifices were never forgotten and since has been visiting local FDNY firehouses for the last thirteen years.
Wright and former Met Edgardo Alfonzo visited FDNY Engine 39/Ladder 16, who lost two greats of their own, Robert Curatolo and Raymond Murphy. Both men gave their lives trying to rescue others before both towers collapsed.
Heartbreak has continued to sweep Engine 39/Ladder 16 after losing another member of their house, firefighter William Woodlon last month, who was fighting a long time battle with lung cancer, something he contacted while participating in the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center.
David Wright has made it clear; he is not a hero but his annual visits are to honor the direct heroes in New York City. The third baseman’s inspiration for this tradition starts with his father who is a retired police officer.
“I’m going to do this every year because this is a way to say thank you, a way to show our appreciation to the men and women that risk their lives. It’s just a way for me to say a personal thank you,” Wright said during his visit to Engine 39/Ladder 16.
Wright has continued to mark his calendar and reserve time for these service men and women every year saying, “It’s something I enjoy doing and look forward to doing every year.”
Former Met Edgardo Alfonzo joined Wright’s visit and also spoke about what it was like playing in New York City during the 2001 terrorist attacks. The former All-Star, who made several personal visits to Ground Zero, as well as assisted in shipping supplies from Shea Stadium to Ground Zero will never forget the raw emotion surround these attacks.
Alfonzo was at a loss of words when trying to describe the emotions during this period of time, “When you start receiving calls from friends who lost friends, friends that lost loved ones, it’s hard.” He went on to say, “I don’t have the words to describe it. It was hard.”
The rough reality is, many service men and women feel as if 9/11 is slowly being forgotten. Younger generations that did not get to experience the raw emotions behind they terrorist attacks are becoming more common. Wright stated that he hopes to pass the traditions on to young guys who will help ensure that these sacrifices do not become forgotten.
“These guys are really heroes for us,” Alfonzo said.
“A lot of people come cheer us on at Citi Field, but there should be more people cheering these people on,” Wright said.
David Wright is recovering from recent neck surgery he had in mid-June. The Mets captain told ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin that he is at about 60 percent mobility and is expecting to make his way back for spring training by next year. He explained that he will play again when he is at 95 percent mobility which should be within six-months.