A firefighter who was only recently identified, 18 years after dying on Sept. 11, 2001, was finally laid to rest on Sept. 10.
The firefighter was identified as Michael Haub, a 13-year veteran of Ladder Company 4, the Uniformed Firefighters Association said.
The association said firefighters, colleagues, and loved ones attended a funeral that provided closure and peace of mind to those who knew him.
“We remember him and the 342 other firefighters who perished that fateful day, and will be forever grateful for the courage they show,” the association said in a statement.
The original service for Haub was held in March 2002. Attendees included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Nicholas Scoppetta, commissioner of the Fire Department of New York.
Thousands of people were killed on 9/11 after terrorists hijacked two planes and flew them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Two other planes were hijacked; one was flown into the Pentagon and the other crashed in western Pennsylvania after passengers on board fought against the hijackers, preventing another strike.
Haub left behind a wife, a 4-year-old son, and a 17-month-old daughter when he died at age 34.
His wife, Erika Haub, told the New York Times in December 2001 that he was a dedicated father who liked to work at Ladder Company 4, known as one of the busiest fire departments in New York.
”He liked helping people,” his wife said. ”He was happy to be at such a busy house because he really wanted to be working all the time.”
Erika Haub eventually remarried and now lives in Orange County.
“I’ll always love my first husband,” she told Newsday in 2011. “He’s part of my life every single day. Some people say, ‘Oh, you moved on.’ I’m not moving on, it’s living.”
“We’re here to live, not to die, so I enjoy my life; but it’s very painful, especially raising two children who lost their father, especially in that way.”
Both children, who are now young adults, and Erika Haub were at the ceremony on Tuesday.
“We wanted them as young adults to have the opportunity to celebrate, honor and mourn their father,” Rev. Christopher Keenan, a Fire Department of New York chaplain who spoke during the ceremony, told Newsday.
“Michael was a great person. He always liked helping others,” added Erika Haub’s cousin, Peter Naumowicz, 36.
He said the service “was a little bit more of a celebration of his life” compared to the last one.
Hundreds of firefighters were also at the service.
“We lost a lot of members,” said Cesar Escobar, a deputy assistant chief. “I’m here to pay my respects.”
The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office has identified 1,644 victims of the terror attacks so far, about 60 percent of those killed. There are more than 1,100 people left who have not been identified. More than 6,000 others were injured.
Scientists with the office said they’re still working on identifying the other remains in a process that has not stopped since that fateful day.
“We’ve been able to reach a point today where we’re able to pulverize the bone material to a very fine powder, which will give us access to much more cells than we were in the past,” Mark Desire, the assistant director of the department of forensic biology, told Spectrum News.
“I would love to be able to say that we’re going to identify—that’s our goal: to identify every victim,” Desire added. “But I know that we’re not going to be able to obtain that goal because that second half of the challenge, the reference samples from the families, we don’t have DNA samples from all of families for all of the victims.”