Legendary FDNY Capt. John Vigiano, during a life of faith and service, earned a spot in the hereafter with his sons and the saints.
The 79-year-old Vigiano was praised Saturday as a man of devotion to the FDNY and the gospel at a jam-packed Long Island funeral where his grandchildren recounted his impact on their lives after the deaths of their dads on 9/11.
“A Marine, a fireman, a hero,” said his granddaughter Nicolette Vigiano of her granddad. “He was all those things, but to me he was also grandpa. He had more than anything a love for life, a love for people, and a love for his family.”
Vigianio, 79, died last Sunday of cancer — nearly 18 years after his sons, John Jr. of the Fire Department and NYPD Detective Joseph, both died trying to rescue people from the doomed World Trade Center. The former Marine Corps sergeant spent his days after the terrorist attack down at Ground Zero, where the remains of Joe were recovered — but not those of John Jr.
“He didn’t despair,” recalled Monsignor John Delendick in his eulogy. “He certainly grieved, but he never lost faith. He knew where his sons were. Maybe not their bodies, but he knew.”
Vigiano joined the FDNY in 1962, working his way up to captain at Ladder Co. 176. He retired after 36 years on the job — a tenure spent entirely in Brooklyn.
“We hear the words hero or legend thrown around all too easily today,” said former FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano. “John’s courage and heroism were second to none.”
Delendick recalled that Vigiano, while not a perfect man, lived by a code of values that made him a special individual.
“Saints aren’t people who are necessarily canonized,” the monsignor said. “Saints are people who live their lives in the service of the Lord. John did that.”
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