In Honor of Lt. Peter L. Freund

I’m very late in posting this today, but in honor of all the men and women who lost their lives during the horrific tragedies of September 11, I wanted to repost a tribute I wrote last year memorializing New York firefighter Lt. Peter L. Freund.

Lt. Peter L. Freund was a native New Yorker, husband, and father of four who put his life on the line for others every week as a firefighter in New York City. He had decided to change career paths and become a high school math teacher, but was killed in the line of duty September 11. A letter from upstate Westtown High School accepting his application arrived the week after the attacks of Sept. 11. In the words of his wife, Robin, “He always said he never wanted to work one tour too many.” He was going to have a new life of summer vacations and regular schedules for him and his family, according to this Chicago Tribune article.

I’m honoring Peter today as part of D. Challener Roe’s 2,996 tribute to honor the victims of 9/11. Peter was from Westtown, N.Y. and was 45 years old. He was stationed in the Engine 55 firehouse and killed in the North Tower.

This morning Peter’s sister, Barbara Salvadore, along with his brother, Charles “Chip” Freund; Barbara’s husband, Peter Salvadore; and his brother, Walter, will arrive in Washington, D.C., along with 100 other cyclists in the Tour de Force memorial ride. They began their memorial ride Friday, September 8.


The following is an excerpt from a newspaper article that appeared in the Record Online, the online version of the Times Herald-Record, serving New York’s Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
    “This is really nothing compared to what they went through,” Barbara, 48, said of her brother, as well as her cousin, Firefighter Timothy McSweeney, who also died in the Sept. 11 attacks. In at least one day, they will ride almost 100 miles and Barbara knows the trip will take its toll. She has pictures stuck to her handlebars facing her…smiling pictures of Pete and Tim. If the roles were reversed, she said, her brother would be the first on a bike to ride for her.

Peter grew up on Staten Island. He met his wife, Robin, when he was a high school football player and she was a cheerleader. Life took them in different directions until 1987 when they married. Peter left behind four children: Peter, 9, Dori, 13, Julie, 11, as well as stepson Ronald Coronato, 24.

Serving the public was in Freund’s blood, according to a Newsday article I read about him. His late mother, Doris, was a nurse, his late father, Charles, was a New York City sheriff and his cousin, Timothy McSweeney of Ladder Co. 3 in Manhattan, died in the attacks of Sept. 11.

The Freunds had decided to raise their family in the farm country of upstate New York. Because Peter did 24-hour “tours,” he didn’t mind the nearly two-hour-commute to New York City that he made twice weekly. “When he was away, we’d talk on the phone at night so he could keep up with what the kids were doing,” said his wife, Robin. Peter had a busy schedule but he enjoyed taking the time to devote to coaching his kids’ softball, baseball and football teams. He had a passion for astronomy and had even built a backyard observatory where he could do some stargazing and listen to his favorite music by the Grateful Dead.

I salute Peter and his dedication and service to our country, along with the other victims of Sept. 11. I hope you will visit D. Challener Roe’s 2,996 tribute website and read the other memorials.

19 comments

  1. Mrs. Flinger says:

    Ahhh. Thanks, Jamie. I’m loving reading about these people’s lives. It’s nice to get to “know” them, you know?

  2. Mayberry says:

    Thanks for doing this… as I posted on my own entry today, I was always so touched in the days after 9/11 when I passed a NYC firehouse. They always posted pictures of the guys they had lost, along with tons of flowers, cards, and other tributes.

  3. Amanda says:

    I really have a special place in my heart for police officers and firefighters. It broke my heart to hear about all those who died trying to save someone elses life.

    Thank You for doing a tribute. You have such a great heart.

  4. molly says:

    You did right by him, by sharing who he was and what he loved. It was so difficult to find these things, much more difficult than I would have imagined. And then difficult to get to know your person, just a little bit, in the knowledge that they’re no longer with us. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Nicole says:

    This project is wonderful. When I think of all the lives lost, it is overwhelming. When I think of one, and the value of just that one, it make my grief real. Then, I can try to multiply that 3,000 times.

  6. Pattie says:

    Beautiful tribute to this fallen hero, Jamie. I am sure his family would be proud to know you remembered him.

  7. Carol Freund says:

    I just read the lovely tribute to my brother,Peter Freund. It is so heartwarming to know that he is remembered and honored. Peter was a great brother and father, and is dealy missed by all of us. Our sister and brother, along with her husband and brother in law, had an awesome memorial for Peter by bike riding from NYC to Washington, DC. A great tribute to a great man. Thank you for remembering and honoring Peter. It is so reassuring to know that he is not forgotten.

    Carol Freund

  8. David Orr says:

    Peter was my cousin. Living in Oklahoma I didn’t get to hang with him real often. He definately always showed a good time when visiting NYC. Got to slide down the pole at the firehouse all rescue 911 style. A beautiful gentle soul, a fellow deadhead, what a tragedy. Peter, his cousin and the others are true heroes young people should look up to.

    • Kim Garrett says:

      A genuinely kind, caring and giving man. One whom I remember as a young man devoted to his family; Opening his home and giving of his time to a naive first time visitor to NYC. I was very lucky to have met
      Peter- thank you David for making Staten Island, NYC and meeting a hero possible. I recall those days in NY with wonder and awe.

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