Branded in FIRE

If you ask a kid what he wants to be when he grows up, he doesn’t think about the benefits, hours, or even how much he would get paid. They run on another type of scale dealing with popularity, familiarity, or uniform. A lot of kids originally hope to grow up to be like their mom or dad, no matter what job their parents may hold. For example, if you ask ten-year old Christopher Cannizzaro from New York what he wants to be when he grows up, he will tell you, “a Firefighter just like my dad”. Christopher was only ten months old when his father, New York City fire fighter Brian Cannizzaro, rushed to help the victims trapped in the twin towers on September 11th, 2001.

Brian never came home.

Only knowing his father through the pictures and stories told by his mother, Christopher plans to follow in his father’s footsteps. In this case, like many others, there is something much more powerful than the shared bond between this father and son dynamic. There is a legacy. Born in the flames of who they serve and in honor of the people of who they love. It is a brand. The brand of the firefighter.

As college students, we were about ten years old on September 11, 2001. We all remember where we were when the twin towers were attacked and the reactions of those around us. The devastation on every news channel overwhelmed all of us with an emotional bond unlike anything else before. A deep and powerful connection was made between every American, as we mourned the loss of our own. This was one of the most impactful creations of shared meaning within our country’s history; bringing our country together despite the color of skin, economic status, or beliefs. At that moment, we were united. At that moment, we recognized our heroes.

The aftermath of 9-11, showed how the strength of our nation helped us all to rise

and overcome tragedy.  With a death toll of 6000+ Americans, the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to be non-existent. The FDNY went into the flaming twin towers on the sunny morning of September 11th without an ounce of resistance.  They were the heroes that gave our country hope, and never gave up.  The appreciation we have for them as a brand of American heroes will never be let go and the strength we gained from that day will never weaken.

Before 9/11, many Firefighters were often the unsung heroes of our communities all over. Their job is to put themselves into the path of danger to save people’s lives and homes.  They protect where we live and some of them are volunteers. Living the life of a firefighter means serving everybody, no matter the circumstances. There is no special set of qualifications that you need to have to be rescued; they don’t even have to know you for them to risk their lives for you.  Every time a call comes in, they gear up knowing that it could be their last. On September 11th 2001, 346 of these extraordinary people made the ultimate sacrifice.. for you.

We are indebted to the 346 American fire fighters who lost their lives that day. Not just because of the day that we all remember but because of how they lived their lives and what they stood for. We all have something to learn from this. Coming together one day in September is not enough to honor these people who served our nation. It should be through our daily lives that we strive to serve and help others like they did for us. This is the brand of the Firefighter. The brand that symbolizes heroism and hope for all Americans.

Firefighters Prayer

-Jared Sales, Sally Shupe, Oliver Evans

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9 thoughts on “Branded in FIRE

  1. I could not agree more with the inviting statement in this article to appreciate the firefighters. Regardless the 9/11 incident, it is still a must to respect them of what they did–risking their own life and the future of their family–to save people they do not even know. It is a pity that National Firefighter Appreciation Day was proposed so late (5 years after the 9/11 incident) by Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).
    However, I could not relate our appreciation to the firefighters with striving to help and serve other people. It is a good thing to do indeed, but I believe that making some good deed addressed directly to the firefighters will be a better way to honor them.

    -Helga T.

  2. I am 100% behind this memorial to commemorate the firefighters that gave their lives in order to save the lives of countless others during the World Trade Center attacks. I thought your introductory hook was great and, being from New York, I felt a powerful sense of pride by just reading about this.

    Usually when I think of “branding,” I think about companies marketing ideas to make money, but this type of branding goes so much deeper than that. I think the execution of this memorial is a success because it honors those who gave their lives on that day without being over the top.

  3. Wow what a sad, yet inspiring article. I appreciate so much what all of those fire fighters and volunteers did for our country that day; not to mention what they do for us ALL of the time. I will never forget where I was on September 11, 2001; sitting in my 5th grade reading class watching my teacher actually having to leave the room because she was crying hysterically. Her uncle worked (at the time) in one of the World Trade Center buildings. He was one of the lucky ones who made it out safely, but I know the scare it gave her, will be with her forever. The “brand” of a fire fighter means so much to me and is something that will forever be meaningful to all of us Americans.

  4. I never thought about how firefighters are a brand of heroism that is represented in the best way possible. Before 9/11 happened I considered my heroes to be my family members, my teachers, and even popular culture public figures. But after 9/11 that all changed considerably for everyone. We now looked as those unsung heroes as angels in disguise. I agree that it is super important during this time to remember the sacrifices that each and every firefighter made simply doing their job without any hesitation. 9/11 had an effect on each American in some type of way. I think it is best that we keep those memories in our minds not to play the tragedy on repeat, but to remember what real sacrifice and heroism means.

  5. I agree with Zach C. that this memorial is well suited for the many brave firefighters who gave their all on September 11th, 2001. This horrible act of terror has helped us as American citizens realize the importance of the roles of firefighters and other public service employees such as police. In addition to emphasizing the importance it has also established a new found appreciation for the commitment and pride that these people put behind their job. Instead of punching the clock like many Americans did that day, they put their lives on the line for the benefit of the nation. This memorial is well deserved and should be an important part of honoring those who gave their all on that fateful day.

  6. This blog is right. On that devastating day in 2001 the United States was united as one despite all differences. But it is unfortunate that it took a tragedy for all of us to be united. The firefighters of the FDNY risk their lives that day like they were use to doing everyday but never could they or anyone imagine the impact that 9/11 would have on them, our nation, and our citizens. We should carry out our appreciation for these firefighters and others on a daily bases not just on one tragic day. The brand of a firefighter is one who scarfices and lives courageously and we should honor them.

  7. I thought that this entry was absolutely amazing. I could not agree more with everything that you said. I loved how you begun the article, discussing how when a kid is asked what he/she wants to be when they get older, it has nothing to do with money or prestige. As Americans we were all brought together by the tragic events of September, 11, and I absolutely agree that the people lost that day should be commemorated much more than just once a year in September. I also liked how you linked branding to this story. I, like the comment above mine, usually related branding to various businesses and this allowed for me to take a completely different outlook on the situation.

  8. I absolutely love this article. There are so many unsung heroes that risk their lives everyday to ensure the safety of others. There’s nothing more heroic than putting one’s life in harm’s way to try and save someone else. The sacrifices they made for our country that day can never be forgotten. In fact, I feel that the brand is more than a symbol of hope and heroism. It a symbol of what America should strive to be: a country of people who put others before themselves. A country that aims to be selfless, not selfish. People lose hope in our country everyday, but I find that hard to do, when there are so many caring people who work hard everyday to help this country grow and become better as a nation.

  9. Sierra Scellato

    Brian Cannizzaro. If you are a stranger to Brian Cannizzaro, when you read this name, at first, it is just a name. But Brian was somebody, with a story. He was a firefighter living the life (brand) of what it means to be a firefighter. His story deepens when you learn he was on of the firefighters that gave his life in 9/11 to save another life. He wore the same emblem of a thousand others: a symbol with four words, key to the story of a fire fighter. These four words are valor, service, duty, and dedication.

    It is also inspiring that such a strong connection could be forged between Brian Cannizzaro and his son, when they never really knew each other. I loved the word choice in this blog, especially the line, “There is a legacy.” Each firefighter has there own legacy in the lives of some rescued person caught in an unexpected fire or disaster. And I agree, that is seems before 9/11, most of us did not realize how lucky we were to have these great servicemen just waiting for our beckoning. 9/11 revealed to all Americans the legacy of a firefighter.

    This past Sunday, the anniversary of 9/11, many policeman and even a few firefighters came to the restaurant where I worked. I could not help to become touched by their presence. The unity formed by Americans then, still exists today. The phrase, “We Remember” has been on flyers and even chalking all over campus the past weeks, which shows our effort to serve them and their families. And I believe this is the power of the firefighters brand and story to their fellow citizens.

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