Like many people in the New York City metropolitan region in the days and weeks after the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, I wondered if I knew anyone who had died in the attack.
I do not remember the exact date when I received confirmation, but within a couple of weeks after the attack I learned from a friend that my high school classmate Steve Colaio was killed. Then I heard from another friend that Steve was alive but was hospitalized. But after a brief flicker of hope, I learned conclusively that Steve had died on 9/11.
Steve and I were not very close friends but we got along well. He was the most popular student in Hicksville High School's class of 1987, and was friends with everybody who knew him. The last time I had saw him was at the 10 year reunion of our class in 1997. He had worked at the bond trading firm of Cantor Fitzgerald in the North Tower, along with his brother Mark Colaio and his brother in-law Tom Pedicini. Mark and Tom also perished in the attack. Mark had gotten Steve and Tom their jobs at Cantor Fitzgerald. I didn't know either Mark or Tom personally, though I am sure I met both of them at least once. Here is an article from Newsday that profiles Steve, Mark, and Tom.
As the days after 9/11 passed and more of the dead were identified, two more names were added to the list of those with whom I had at least a passing acquaintance. There was Tommy Langone, who I had as an instructor for a class I took at the Nassau County Fire Academy only several months earlier while I was undergoing probationary training as a volunteer fire fighter. Tommy had served as chief of the Roslyn Fire Department. Though I only had him for one class, I remember he had a really cool sense of humor and he liked to reference dialogue from National Lampoon's Animal House during the class. Another lost son of Hicksville was Walter Weaver, who was among the fallen of the New York City Police Department that terrible day. I did not know Walter, but I remembered him because I use to deliver the New York Post to his house when I was in my early teens.
Sometime later this year, the 20th anniversary reunion of my high school class is scheduled to be held. I don't plan to attend. I suspect that the loss of Steve Colaio will cast a somber shadow on the evening and it will not be the same without him. He brightened the lives of so many people who knew him and he will be sorely missed, but he will live on in our memories.