As we mark the seven-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, we are reminded how precious life is and how short it can be. Thousands of innocent lives were lost on September 11, but thousands more were saved, thanks to the professional and personal heroism of our law enforcement officers and fire officials and their colleagues.In fact, more than 25,000 individuals were rescued that day, a point of national pride that will never be forgotten with even the passage of time.

The actions of that day set the standard of what public service is all about. The heroic example of those rescuers on 9/11 was not lost on the American people. It began a renewed spirit that awoke our nation and gave us an appreciation of the spirit of service and self-sacrifice of the men and women of professional public service, who stepped forward to do extraordinary things in protecting our freedom and rights. These heroes are the same protectors who watch over our communities, defending the weak, caring for the needy, and performing many other acts of kindness and courage so that we all can enjoy America's way of life and liberty.

One man who helped preserve America's liberty and touched many lives in many ways had a caring heart and spirit, who took on all challenges, and always had an eye to helping people in need, and who had done many deeds of heroism throughout his career was Police Officer Paul Laszczynski of the New Jersey Police Department and a member of Port Authority of New York.

He was the brother-in-law of Tommy Walker, who is the best friend of my friend Kevin Gearin of Downingtown.

Officer Paul Laszczynski was killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks while attempting to rescue the victims trapped in the World Trade Center. Officer Laszczynski was one of those rare people who experienced both attacks on the

World Trade Center. He earned a commendation for helping a disabled man escape the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 by carrying him down over 70 flights of stairs. He also climbed the George Washington Bridge in New York more than once to rescue would-be jumpers. He then trained for and became a member of the ESU and held a position with the Port Authority Honor Guard.

On September 11, 2001, Laszczynski, with little concern for his own safety, went into the maelstrom surrounding the World Trade Center complex to save people. He was last heard from that day somewhere above the twentieth floor, attempting to help people in the lobby of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Paul and six other Port Authority officers were found in the lobby of the North Tower along with the women they were trying to rescue. Paul Laszczynski was a hero who will always be memorialized along with 71 of his fellow law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City fire department, and over 2,800 civilians that were killed at the World Trade Center site.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, seventy two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorists 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 as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The second tower collapsed a short time later. 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 contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site had also caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

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.

According to Paul Laszczynski's family, Paul always wanted to be a police officer. He spent years earning a science degree and even worked in a New Jersey lab. Paul jumped at the chance to join the Conrail Transit Police, then also had a position with the Port Authority's Honor Guard, where he was the flag-bearer, which was the most important thing to him. It was said the flag bearing meant more to him than any of his commendations.

Officer Laszczynski was born in Baltimore and raised in Jersey City. At 6 feet 5 inches and 240 pounds, Laszczynski played football in both high school and college, and tried out for two professional football teams, the New York Jets, and the New York Giants.

Officer Laszczynski was the pride of his police department and rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle with police groups that raised money for children's charities. Paul's spirit and heroism will forever give lasting memories to the lives of everyone he touched. He was the standard of what every public service is all about.

Until next time, ciao, Joe D'Angelo P.S. Office Paul Laszczynski is survived by his two daughters, Amy and Jennifer, and lady friend Charlene Taralrico. He was a hero to his daughters, his family, his friends, to his fellow police comrades, and most of all a hero to the society he loved protecting. Hero Laszczynski died so that others might live, and he will always be remembered: "It's not how he died that made him a hero, but how he lived."

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