My brother the 9/11 responder

On 9/11/2001, my brother Matt was an active firefighter with the New Rochelle, N.Y. fire department. Part of the family. Nineteen miles away from ground zero. But on that day 19 miles was further away than he wanted to be.


His whole ladder company wanted to go down and help. But as you can imagine the logistics were unimaginable. There were issues with who was needed, what was needed. But there was no doubt when it was needed.

After a couple of days, they were cleared and went down to the site. They drove the 19 miles, got off a bus and walked down the West Side Highway to the wild cheers of the crowds lining the streets. I can’t even imagine what that felt like. He and his company spent the day down at the site doing whatever they could. But he said he got the feeling that the New York City Firefighters wanted to “dig out their own.” He understood. I understand. I hope you do too.

Today is a day that I really hope we all remember with the proper respect and dignity. I’m proud of my 12 year old son for his great Instagram post this morning.

diego post

He remembered even though he wasn’t born yet. We brought him into this world one month later to the day on 10/11/2001.

As the saying goes, “life goes on.” Or does it? I don’t mean to single out The Carolina Panthers or Miller Beer but I did see this party invite from them.

partySomething about it just doesn’t feel right, does it? Perhaps there was another way to send out this message. I would think so. Thanks to everyone who is keeping the memory of this day alive in the proper manner.
















Ten years later, can you still hear the beeping?

I do.

We all wondered what that sound was. It is the 95 decibel blare of a PASS device (Personal Alert Safety System).  It means that a firefighter has not moved in 30 seconds. And on that day, most never moved again.

Ten years later, can you remember what raced through your mind when the second plane hit the South Tower at 9:02:59 a.m.?

Ten years later, do you remember people holding hands and jumping, not wanting to take their last 10 second journey alone?

Ten years later, do you remember hearing about a third plane and then a fourth and wondering how many more there could be?

Ten years later, do you remember the sea of people walking around with pictures of their loved ones? Or the never-ending walls of posters?

In the ten years since, have you take inventory of your own loved ones who had passed away before 9/11 and gave thanks that they did not have to see that day? It may be strange, but I have.

Ten years later, we got Osama bin Laden. But on 9/11, they got my high school buddy.

Ten years later, what do remember about 9/11? And what will you never forget?

The danger with scheduled social media updates

I’ve been saying this for a while. Pretend you’ve scheduled an update for 11:45 p.m. on May 1, 2011. Well, here are some updates I just saw:

-Eight ways to get that beach body…

-First featured burger for National Hamburger Month…

-How important is exercise…

-Thanks for the RT. I appreciate you. xoxo..

-Our next project…

-Gary Vaynerchuk along with his wine web show…

-Japan, SKorean markets rise amid Asian holidays…

-The Ultimate Roast Chicken…

-BOLOWIND: Wind energy offshore system…

-♦Learning From Twitter’s Top 75 B.A. Women

-Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Royal Weddings and Human Idols

-Ad: If you like foursquare you’ll love @wereward for iphone earn cash for checkins at locations and with products

-♦Learning From Twitter’s Top 75 B.A. Women

I would think that at this time in American history, we should be focusing on this historic moment that has been too long in the waiting. And now I will hit the publish button. Everyone, practice safe social media. What’s your take on this?


Please note that I monitor several social media streams and certain of these I follow out of business necessity.

It’s 9/12, now what?

A magical thing happened yesterday. As I saw it, human glue officially became stronger than human hate.

I wrote what I thought was a good post titled “Where were you on 9/11?” and instantly the comments shined brighter than the post itself. It stopped becoming my post and became our post. The response was global. Comments came from Australia. Bolivia. Poland. Romania.Germany. Montana. South Africa. Alaska. Spain. Someone said they were on the rocket launchpad at Cape Canaveral, FL. And someone wrote one sentence: “i was in new york in the twin towers…” (sic). And on and on.

I kept a pretty cool head while skimming the 500 plus published comments so far (I promise I will read them all). I kept my cool. Except two times. 1) When my brother (at left) shared his thoughts and 2) when my beautiful niece (right) shared hers. For those who didn’t read my original post, my brother is a fireman 19 miles outside of New York City and worked at Ground Zero. Grab a tissue and read what he had to say. Do an Edit > Find: Matthew LaMonica on yesterday’s post.

While the post was popular, I refuse to take a victory lap on the 9/11 issue. It’s not that kind of occasion.

There was one thing that left me uneasy–maybe more uneasy than I’ve ever been about this whole thing. On October 11, 2001, I welcomed my incredible baby boy into this newly changed world just 30 days after this all happened. Initial reports are good and he recently won “friendliest camper of the summer” award.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the men and women in our armed forces who let me safely tuck my son in at night. And especially those who never made it back alive. I’m usually a funnier guy than all this, but this is tough stuff. We can pull each other’s finger, yuk it up and have a good laugh together sometime soon.

For now I hope that anyone who read the 9/11 post from yesterday (or this one) will tell a friend and continue to share their memories.  Because I will guarantee you, you all knew where were that day. You all have unique story to share.

Where were you on 9/11?  And what are you doing to keep the spotlight burning? Peace be with you all. ~Mike

In case you missed the original post and comments, you can view it here:


Where were you on 9/11?

We all knew where we were that morning.

I happened to be in Upstate New York when my phone rang.  Before I could even say hello I heard, “a plane just hit the World Trade Center.” I didn’t have TV at my little farmhouse in Woodstock, NY so I ran to my neighbor’s house.  Then the second plane hit and, in an instant, in my mind, I said, “they got us.”

That started a strange series of events.  In my tiny town, there were Army vehicles at the end of my sleepy road keeping all vehicles away from the Ashokan Reservoir fearing that someone may be attempting to contaminate New York City’s water supply. We were essentially quarantined. The image above shows how remote an area I was in.

An hour later my phone rang.

It was an elderly woman who I did not know asking if I was OK.  This was not a day for disputes; it was a day for compassion.  So I just assured her that I was in fact OK.  I stayed on the phone with her a bit and learned that she was actually trying to check in on Michael Lomanaco who was Chef/Director for Windows on The World, the restaurant located atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. So I guess he also had a home in Woodstock, NY.  Michael Lomonaco wasn’t in the North Tower at the time, but everyone present in the restaurant when American Airlines Flight 11 hit either perished from the plane’s impact, smoke inhalation, or died in the when the tower collapsed 102 minutes later.

My brother was a fireman in a town 19 miles outside of New York and he wanted to help. It took almost a week for his ladder company to get clearance to go.  When he arrived, he said people were lined up as they marched to the sight cheering them as if they won the World Series.  He spent a day at the site, but got an unspoken message from the New York City crew that they “wanted to dig out their own.” He understood and in the most uncomfortable of ways, so did I.

And about two weeks later, I learned that I lost a little league buddy and a high school friend on that day.

I am not one to give big props to celebs, but George Clooney’s acceptance speech at the Emmy’s rang true to me. And that was “to help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heart-breaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away.” To me, it was a fresh turn of phrase on, “We will never forget.”

Where were you on 9/11?

And what are you doing to keep the spotlight burning? ~Mike