13 children of firefighters killed during 9/11 among graduates at FDNY academy

The Fire Department of New York celebrated its graduating class from the city's Fire Academy on Tuesday, and the ceremony had added significance for 13 graduates.

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Thirteen of the 301 graduates were the children of firefighters who died in the terror attacks at New York City's World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The fathers of six other children died of 9/11-related illnesses, WABC reported. Two other graduates Tuesday were children of firefighters who died in the line of duty, but not related to the 9/11 attacks, the television station reported.

“They are continuing their family’s legacies of service,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said during the ceremony. “Today, they fully achieved their dreams. They are honoring their fallen loved ones. They are continuing their families’ legacy of service, and they are making all of us immensely proud."

It was an emotional day for the graduates.

"I feel like my dad's with me every step of the way and it brings me a little closer to him," Rebecca Asaro, whose father, Carl Asaro, died in the 2001 attacks, told CBS News.

Carl Asaro left behind six children. Rebecca Asaro's brother, Marc Asaro, also walked across the stage Tuesday, WPIX reported.

Robert Tilearico Jr.'s father. Robert Tilearico Sr., survived the Sept.11 attacks, but was diagnosed with brain cancer years later that was related to the attack, the television station reported.

"I didn't think it would take his own life 18 years later, but that's where we are today, and there are so many other people in his shoes, sick from 9/11-related cancers. So I just pray for them, for those other people," Tilearico Jr. told WCBS.

The children of the deceased firefighters know the dangers involved but are eager to serve.

"My father gave his life for this job, you know. And so many other people did. And it's just, it's a very rewarding job," Marc Asaro told CBS News."

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