NYC fire chief to speak at NIU

By Talesha Herbert

Imagine yourself at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001. Now, put yourself in the shoes of a New York City firefighter.

Do you think you will ever know what it really felt like?

New York City Fire Chief Richard Picciotto will speak on his experiences at Ground Zero at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 10 in the Duke Ellington Ballroom at the Holmes Student Center.

Picciotto, the highest ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center collapse, has written a book titled “Last Man Down.”

“All across the country, Sept. 11 will be a day of remembrance,” NIU President John Peters said.

Peters is glad that NIU was provided the opportunity for Picciotto to speak, and believes it is very appropriate.

“It will give us a chance to reflect on what happened that day, and best understand what it means to us,” he said.

Peters, also participating in the noon memorial on Sept. 11 at the King Memorial Commons, said he is pleased to do so.

Lesley Clements, Campus Activities Board adviser, was cruising down Interstate 88 on Sept. 11.

“I was on my way to Naperville to pick up equipment for a fine arts show,” Clements said. “I remember distinctly the sky being empty, but I knew something was wrong when I looked again and saw planes turning around.”

Clements said the day was strange for everyone.

Clements, along with Peters, thinks the opportunity to have Picciotto speak will help people understand and better grasp the big picture.

“I think it is an unbelievable opportunity for NIU and the community,” Clements added.

CAB speakers coordinator Brooke Beyers, a sophomore nursing major, began planning the event last year.

Beyers admits that she feels very lucky to have been able to get Picciotto to speak here.

“It was a lot of luck,” she said.

Beyers thinks that his survival in the collapsing towers was incredible.

“I think we are blessed to have him come speak here,” she said.

Following Picciotto’s speech, he will hold a book signing.

His best-selling “Last Man Down” can be purchased at the University Bookstore.

The event is sponsored by the Parents Association, Student Association, Office of Orientation and Campus Activities Board.