All of us old enough to remember the 9/11 attacks will have distinct memories of where exactly we were when the news broke. Largely considered to be the worst terrorist incident in American history, the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre, alongside the other planned attacks killed 2,977 people, and propelled the United States of America into a war which would span over eight years.
9/11 was the single deadliest terrorist attack for emergency workers in the history of the US, with 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers killed respectively. However, the valour of these fallen heroes continues to be remembered and celebrated, not only in the mainstream media but through the many memorial sites that were set up in the aftermath of the tragedy.
The people of New York also exhibited great amounts of heroism in the aftermath of the attack, with many coming out in droves to do all they could to be of service to their city and nation. And just one instance of this came from someone better known for his career on the big screen: Steve Buscemi.
Seventeen years ago, Hollywood star Steve Buscemi returned to his previous job as a New York City firefighter.
Before Steve Buscemi became a household name, best known for depicting an aggravated gangster in the Tarantino flick Reservoir Dogs, and then a whole medley of other eccentric personalities, he served as a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), between the years of 1980 and 1984.
On September 11 2001, Buscemi resumed to his old post to aid fellow firefighters in searching for survivors and the missing in the rubble of the Twin Towers. Buscemi worked 12-hour shifts for numerous days.
Remaining incredibly humble about the whole effort, Buscemi refused to be interviewed when on the job, and even eschewed fans who wanted a picture with him.
Later speaking about his involvement in the aid effort, he said:
"It was a privilege to be able to do it. It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn't really think about it as much, feel it as much."
And in 2013, the Brotherhood of Fire used their Facebook page to draw attention to Buscemi's selflessness, they wrote:
"Do you recognise this man? Do you know his name? Lots of people know he's an actor, and that his name is Steve Buscemi. What very few people realise is that he was once one of New York's Bravest.
In 1976 Steve Buscemi took the FDNY civil service test when he was just 18 years old. In 1980 Steve Buscemi became a New York City Firefighters. For four years, Buscemi served on one of FDNY's busiest, Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan's Little Italy. He later left the fire service to become a successful actor, writer and director.
After 9/11/2001... Brother Buscemi returned to FDNY Engine 55.
On September 12, 2001 and for several days following Brother Steve worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters digging and sifting through the rubble from the World Trade Center looking for survivors.
Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn't there for the publicity."
Buscemi passed the FDNY civil service test at the age of 18, and whilst he left the force to pursue a career in acting, he remained very much involved in causes that are dear to the hearts of New York City's firefighters. He has spoken at union rallies and even hosted the HBO documentary, A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY.
Steve Buscemi truly is a hero.