911 close to home for Patriots' Gregory

911 close to home for Patriots' Gregory
September 14, 2012, 1:57 pm
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FOXBORO - In 2001, one of the stories that personalized the September 11 attacks locally was that of Joe Andruzzi. The Patriots' guard was from Staten Island, New York and his three brothers - all New York City firefighters - were involved in the response. There was uncertainty, sadness, relief and mourning from Andruzzi that week. Earlier this week, the 11th anniversary of the attacks arrived and another Patriot from Staten Island, safety Steve Gregory, recalled the event with a story similar to Andruzzi's. His parents are both retired police officers in Brooklyn. "It's one of those days, it's so clear to remember," Gregory said Wednesday. "I was in college (at Syracuse)and I can just remember sitting in class when I heard about it and I went into a dining hall and there'sa TV there and there were hundreds of people just standing there watching in silence. "Nobody could believe what was going on and then, as we're watching it, the secondplane hit live. And then it was just crazy, man, people started screaming and running all over the place."Everyone, it seemed, knew someone at least tangentially involved in what was going on. Gregory knew many someones. "Up in Syracuse, a lot of people were from the City area, they had family and friends that were down there so there werereal personal relationships that a lot of people had up there in Syracuse," Gregory recalled. "The buildings came down and then my father went down to Ground Zero to help out. He was down there every day from the time the building went down for...a while. It was just a crazy time. You'd hear all the different stories of people on my block... The girl across the street from me, she might have been two years older than me, she was lost in one of the buildings, she had just gotten a job there. Family members, firefighters, all these different stories."Gregory's father, now retired from the force, got a call from Steve on Sunday. "I talked to him," said Gregory. "He watches the stuff when it's on TV and he's said to me, 'I don't even really want to watch it anymore because it brings back all those memories that were so horrible that day. Being down there and just trying to help out as much as you can and you see some horrific things.' Every year, to keep reliving that experience is hard I feel for him in that way." We seem a long way from the post-attacks unity we all experienced, I said to Gregory. "It's crazy how in that time of turmoil and the threat of terrorism, we all came together for that one cause just to stick together and be united as we should be," he agreed. "You wish that it could always be that way. There are so many people in the world, we'll never be truly united but if we could just try our best to understand that we are all one country, we all need to stick together and help each other out. That's the main goal of this country, right?"