No amount of time that passes will allow the families of the victims from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to forget how the events of that day completely and irrevocably changed their lives. Even after 12 years, pieces and elements of the tragedy continue to surface. The discovery of a plane wing in April of this year served as one of the most recent and physical reminders of the deadly attacks.
Now, the New York City Medical Examiner's office has identified the remains of Staten Island native Lt. Jeffrey P. Walz, a fireman who lost his life in the collapse of the World Trade Center.
This news has brought about mixed feelings to Waltz' family, including his sibling and widow, who spoke publicly about the recent findings.
"My family always felt at some point we would get a phone call," Walz's widow, Rani, stated. "I wasn't so sure. This has reopened old wounds."
Walz' sister Karen Ciacco expressed a similar sentiment, stating that the situation has "brought up a lot of old feelings" but nonetheless, has expressed a sense of gratitude for the phone call from the medical examiner's office.
"We always felt that we would get something from him. I felt as though he came home to the family," Ciacco said.
According to chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson, over 8,200 bone samples and other remains have yet to be tested. For the families of the 1,100+ people who have not had any remains identified to date, the possibility that they may one day receive a call similar to that which Walz's family received is still up in the air.
"We're just very relieved, in some respects, to be finally bringing him home to where he grew up and to put him to rest there," his brother, Raymond Walz, stated. "That's some peace."
Though twelve years have passed since the tragic events of 9/11, the discovery of Walz' remains is a reminder of the heroic sacrifice that countless individuals made that day. Even after a decade, people are working tirelessly to bring the families of 9/11 victims the greatest degree of closure they can possibly provide and this is a testament to the heart with which people have worked to bring comfort to those who survived the pain of losing a loved one to this senseless tragedy.