Photo taken in the Financial District on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These flags, listing the names of those who lost their lives, were placed on display for every victim of the tragedy. (Image courtesy of Chris Schoenbohm, WanderingtheWorld on Flickr.)
In remembrance of all the men and women who lost their lives during the horrific tragedies that occurred on September 11, I wanted to update a tribute I originally posted in 2006 in honor of brave New York firefighter Lt. Peter L. Freund. Peter was 45, only three years older than me, when he died. He had many years of living ahead of him. Let’s never forget the thousands of innocent people who died on 9/11.
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.
Peter was from Westtown, N.Y. and stationed in the Engine 55 firehouse. He was killed as he and his fellow firefighters tried to save as many lives as they could in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, the first of the twin towers to be hit that morning and the last to fall.
Every year Peter’s sister, Barbara Freund Salvadore, and other family members participate in a rolling memorial bike ride from New York to Washington, D.C., the 4-day Tour de Force memorial ride, to honor firefighters and police officers who lost their lives on 9/11.
The following is an excerpt from a newspaper article that appeared a couple of years ago:
- “This is really nothing compared to what they went through,” Barbara 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 and his wife Robin met in high school; he played high school football 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. 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.
Thank you Peter for your dedication and service to our country.