Band of Dads

September 11, 2001

Retired FDNY fireman Lee Ielpi cradles the helmet found near his fallen son, Jonathan, of Squad 288, on December 11, 2001. Only about 15 or so firemen's helmets were recovered at Ground Zero. Soft-spoken, kind and always the perfect gentleman, Lee entrusted me with honor of capturing this tender moment. I worked with Lee for many months down in the hole at Ground Zero. Before we said goodbye, Lee told me, "Gary, I know my son is in better hands now but I'd rather have him in mine." Lee recently formed an organization called the September 11th Families Association and you can check out the website at This group offers peer support and is quite active in media relations surrounding the future of Ground Zero's redevelopment. Most importantly, Lee's group campaigns to make sure that the footprints of the original Twin Towers is left untouched and preserved.


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