Father of fallen 9/11 hero speaks to students

Posted at 5:14 PM, Sep 09, 2016

Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and while we can all probably remember exactly where we were on that day, now a younger generation is getting a new history lesson on one of the darkest days in our nation’s history.

Bright Futures Academy in North Palm Beach brought in a special guest Friday to talk to a group of students who weren’t even born when the twin towers came crashing down, a plane crashed in Pennsylvania and another hit the Pentagon.

John Napolitano spoke about his son John, a New York City firefighter who died in the 9/11 terror attack in 2001. The retired police officer remembered arriving at Ground Zero, hearing the alarms, searching for his son, and refusing to give up hope.

He wants this younger generation to understand the sacrifices these fallen heroes made.

He says, “it was so frustrating because you didn't know where to start. It was the most horrific thing I ever saw in my life. I wrote a big message to my son in the ash. I thought if he's hurt, he'd see it and know I was there.”

Napolitano says another first responder took a picture of his message and it’s now in the 9/11 museum in New York City.

He adds, "I want them to know someone has their back. That was a day of infamy, a day of evil, but also a day of profound courage and compassion. We saw that in our first responders- they didn't turn away and they didn't turn back. And that's what the world is going to remember and embrace.”

Students at Bright Futures Academy researched 9/11 victims and wrote essays about them. They said it helped them understand what happened in our country, and Napolitano’s story made them feel sad but thankful for those who keep us safe.