Michael Francis Lynch‚ Badge Number 2315‚ was a Firefighter on rotation to Engine 40/Ladder 35 in Manhattan on September 11th‚ 2001. Michael was permanently assigned to Engine 62/Ladder 32 in the Bronx.
Michael was the seventh of our ten children. In addition to Michael‚ there are 3 daughter and 6 sons in this family. Although it is difficult to capture Michael’s wonderful spirit and personal qualities in words‚ we will do our best to convey what a truly remarkable person he was so that others can understand what a profound loss we have all experienced.
Michael was born on December 12‚ 1970‚ in Bronx‚ New York. As the only child born in December‚ our children regarded him as a Christmas present. Perhaps we all knew somehow that Michael’s life was a gift that we were given only temporarily and was something we should treasure.
In his first two weeks of life‚ Michael demonstrated perseverance and determination to live by weathering illness. This was our first inkling that our skinny‚ seemingly fragile child was a person of extraordinary strength and courage.
Michael was a very gentle‚ mild-mannered person. He was kind‚ thoughtful‚ and sweet by nature. One of Michael’s most noted qualities was his ever-present sense of humor. He was simply – very funny. Our memories are filled with Michael’s smiles‚ his quick laugh‚ and his quips. It is hard to recall him any other way. Although Michael was unassuming and was not a person who looked for attention‚ he was often the source of great laughter and amusement. Many of our family pictures reflect Michael’s ability to inject fun into our lives. He was a talented mimic and joke-teller. His nieces and nephews always appreciated Michael’s gentle humor and sense of fun. One of our family’s last and treasured memories is of Michael telling jokes on our annual vacation at the Jersey Shore. His fellow firefighters have told us many similar stories of how Michael kept them entertained at the firehouses.
Michael was slow to anger and sensitive to others. We believe that it was Michael’s compassionate nature and desire to protect others that led him to choose this career as a firefighter. His innate bravery and courage gave him the ability to make a sacrifice that only a select number of extraordinary human beings can make.
As a small child‚ Michael loved music and singing. We have sweet memories of him singing My Name is Michael‚ Yellow Submarine‚ Michael Row Your Boat Ashore‚ and I’m On the Top of the World Looking Down on Creation. He was a child who found joy in life and expressed it in music. As an adult‚ he became a popular DJ and entertained family‚ friends and many others in our community. Michael was generous by nature and often volunteered to DJ events for charity. Although Michael was always wiry in build‚ he had the energy for 2 people. He was adventurous and had great endurance‚ traits that served him well as a firefighter. He loved being outdoors‚ no matter what the weather was like and was usually the last child to want to come in after playing. It is no wonder that he became an avid outdoors and sports lover. He loved to go hiking with his brothers and sisters as a youth. He was captain of his soccer team at Cardinal Spellman High School. As an adult‚ Michael began to coach children’s soccer‚ a volunteer job that gave him the satisfaction of continuing to play outside. One of his favorite past-times was fishing with his father‚ family and friends. Michael was a certified scuba diver and had recently taken up a new sport – golf. Michael went to college but he dreamed of becoming a firefighter. After earning a bachelor’s degree‚ and while waiting to be admitted to the FDNY‚ Michael worked at Dean Witter in the World Trade Center. His former colleagues at that office‚ who were jittery after the 1993 bombing‚ later told us that Michael promised to return to save them as a firefighter if there was ever another incident. Michael kept that promise. Michael was only two months from his marriage when the events of September 11th occurred. He was engaged to Stephanie Luccioni and they were to be married on November 16th‚ 2001. Instead of celebrating the promise of love‚ life and children‚ we are left with shattered dreams and deep pain. We have a video of Michael and his company entering the World Trade Center that morning. It is difficult to possess and view this footage. At the same time‚ this film is evidence of incredible bravery and humanity. A news cameraman zeroed in on Michael as he carried heavy gear‚ including a fire hose into the building. Perhaps the most stunning thing about this video is that we watch Michael glance up at the building and continue to walk through the door as others were fleeing the danger. It is hard to conceive of the kind of bravery it requires to take that action. We are in awe of Michael and his fellow firefighters. As we said before‚ Michael had the strength and endurance of two people. It came as no surprise to us when the Medical Examiner informed us that‚ when Michael was found on March 21st‚ he had either been carrying a woman or shielding her with his bunker coat. It simply reinforced our conviction that he was truly a brave hero. Initially‚ our family kept a vigil and hoped that Michael somehow survived. As time passed‚ our hope diminished and we began the painful process of understanding that our son‚ brother‚ uncle and fianc_ is truly gone. We must reconcile ourselves to the consequences of Michael’s act of bravery and respect his determination to save the lives of others while sacrificing his own. We will always remember the brave man that walked into danger only to save others. We now like to think of Michael sitting on top of the world looking down on us and creation‚ with love. We thank you for remembering him with us. As a nation‚ we must never forget the sacrifice of these brave firefighters and all rescue workers who unselfishly give their life for others.