2011 Stories and Memories

Sep 12, 2011 Tought for the Week #461 Remembering 9/11 and Chuck Margiotta
As I write this it is September 11th. On this, the 10th anniversary of that tragic event I have stopped many times to pray and remember. I know that all of you reading this have strong personal memories of your own. My personal 9/11 is all about Chuck. Lt. Charles Joseph Margiotta. He was the brother of my best man, Mike and he was my constant hunting and fishing partner. Chuck was a legend. During his life he was the most talked about of all of the characters we grew up with and I can tell you we had no shortage of characters. Chuck was a bigger than life kind of guy. So much so that it took years for us to believe he was actually gone. We all thought he would show up one day with a wild story of survival in some underground chasm beneath it all living on vermin and sucking the water that dripped between the stones. If you knew Chuck you could actually see him doing this and make yourself believe it. Part of me still does. He was indefatigable and to believe that anything, even something as big as this could take him, was like believing that John Wayne was five foot four and rode Shetland Ponies.

As far as a “Weekly Thought”, my only thought this week is about Chuck, his wife, daughter and son, his mom and dad, and his brother, Mike, and how impossible these ten years must have been for them.

Mike has created a wonderful website with memories of Chuck as well as the Chuck Margiotta Scholarship fund. Check it out here:


 Frank Somma

Sep 12, 2011 Margiotta family

 Margiotta Family,

Chuck and your family are always in our thoughts and prayers. May God Bless and strengthen you with his love.

Bob Vitlip & family

Glen Mills, PA

Sep 12, 2011 The Chapel



Sep 12, 2011 Remembering Chuck


Just wanted to say that we're all remembering Chuck today and everyday. I opened facebook this morning and my old friend Ken Tirado, who you probably know (he owns Kilmeyers), had Chucks picture in place of his own today. Friday night Frank invited me to have dinner with Mike Sedowski and Steve, two of his hunting buddies (opening day was Sat.). They'd hunted with your brother too and we all laughed at a couple of stories. Christ, he knew everybody.

All the best during this time, Mike.


Sep 12, 2011 Remembering Chuck


Just wanted to say that we're all remembering Chuck today and everyday. I opened facebook this morning and my old friend Ken Tirado, who you probably know (he owns Kilmeyers), had Chucks picture in place of his own today. Friday night Frank invited me to have dinner with Mike Sedowski and Steve, two of his hunting buddies (opening day was Sat.). They'd hunted with your brother too and we all laughed at a couple of stories. Christ, he knew everybody.

All the best during this time, Mike.


Sep 8, 2011 Into the Harbor


I just saw the Navy ship, New York come into the harbor, as I stood in my Jersey City office. As I looked across the water at the rebuilding Trade Center, I quietly said a prayer of thanks to you and all the others who stood up for us on September, 11, 2011. As I looked at the New York sail up the harbor, under the gray sky, she stood out as a symbol of the quiet strength of this great country, and you, Chuck as you demonstrated your own quiet strength. Thank you for your sacrifice, thanks for the debates at St. Rita’s, thanks for coaching and caring about my kids in Basketball.

God Bless you.

Bill Myhre

Sep 4, 2011 Prayers

Dear Mike:

The Margiotta Family has been in my prayers for the past two weeks. The memory of 09/11/01 burns brightly in our hearts and minds, and although we will NEVER forget, we also know that that is not what defined Chuck or the other people whose lives were tragically snatched away. These people were so much more to their family, friends and the world. We will continue to honor them in thought, word and deed. Thank you for continuing the Scholarship Fund. Education is something that cannot be taken away. It is a lasting tribute and will have a ripple effect for years to come. May God's peace be with your family in the coming days.

Laura Foster

Fort Lauderdale

Aug 24, 2011 CNN Blog

My father was and still is my hero until this day. At the raw age of thirteen, my whole entire world was turned upside down. I never thought in a million years that I would lose my father. He was supposed to watch me grow up; he was supposed to watch me graduate elementary school, high school, and college. He is supposed to walk me down the aisle one day at my wedding. Unfortunately, he was taken away from my family and I that horrific day. My father, Lt. Charles Margiotta was and still is a hero. He was my family's whole world. He was a teddy bear and loved like no other. He loved his family more than words can imagine and we loved him back even more. Although he is not with us, he is always with us in spirit. He is with me everyday and I feel him all around me.

My father woke up on September 11, 2001 expecting to have a normal day like every other person in Manhattan. My father was coming off of a 24 hour shift in Manhattan and was on his way home when he saw the first plane hit the Twin Towers. He immediately called his mother, my grandmother and his best friend. That was the last time anyone would speak to him again because he turned his car right around and hopped on with Rescue 5 in Staten Island; they were one of the first responders. My father knew he needed to be there and do his job. No one would think that would be the last time he would do the job he loved so much again.

My father was one of the most amazing people I will ever know in my whole entire life. My father was a graduate of Brown University. He was an all-star football player and excelled in his academics. He could have done anything in the world, but his calling in life was to be a firefighter, a hero.

My mother, brother, and I have endured so much these last ten years. I am very proud to say as a family we have pulled through. I have graduated college with a Bachelors in Education and Psychology and my brother is currently following in my father's footsteps and going to Brown University. My mother has been our rock throughout these years and I am so proud of her. Not a day goes by that we do not talk about him or think about him. He left this earth the way he was supposed to, a hero.
 Norma Jean Margiotta

Jun 27, 2011 Bearing Drift

I recently published a book called Bearing Drift, about the US Coast Guard and the wreck of the Cuyahoga. I wanted to share a few passasges with you.

One of my fellow football players at Brown, Chuck Margiotta, wanted to be a fireman. He was the type of person who attracted nicknames: “helium heels” because he walked on his toes, and “pumpy” because he was a serious body-builder. Pumpy stuck with him his whole life. He played offensive line, often across from me, and while he was only five foot eleven inches, he was tough as nails and in practice he never let up.

People would ask him, “Why go to Brown and then just join a fire department?” Pumpy always responded that he wasn’t just going to join “a” fire department, he was going to join “the” Fire Department — FDNY — the Fire Department of New York, the best fire department in the world. Chuck always talked in superlatives. He said he just wanted to be the best fireman in the world as well as go to the best college in the world.

It sounded like such an exciting job to me, and I told him I wanted to go into the Coast Guard. FDNY works closely with the Coast Guard to put out fires in New York Harbor, and he had great respect for the Guard. He thought it was the best service in the federal government, and the best Coast Guard in the world.

While he was just a sophomore and a back-up lineman, his positive outlook was contagious. While he may not have made any big plays that season, his attitude helped propel the team into the Ivy League championship. We weren’t the biggest, the strongest, or the most talented team, but we were the most determined. As our coach, John Andersen, would always say, “Men, there is no doubt, absolutely no doubt — we can win this!” It was that positivity that led to our success.....

The Washington Post reporter was wrong when he wrote the headline “Spartan Funeral for Cutter Victim.” While the headline conveys the idea that the event was a simple service without fanfare, when it came to funerals, the Spartans were anything but Spartan-like. In fact, the Spartan’s most glorious events were funerals because they knew the importance of honoring their heroes.
My fellow football player, Charles Margiotta, instead of joining the fire department right after college, took an executive job at GM. Despite doing a superlative job at GM, he quit after a few years and joined the Fire Department of New York. Pumpy quickly rose through the ranks to become Lieutenant Charles Margiotta.

One day, he was heading home after a twenty-four-hour shift on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and saw the World Trade Center billowing out smoke. He called a friend and told him to turn on the TV. His friend knew exactly how Pumpy would react, and so he said, “You’re off duty; go home!”
Pumpy’s reply was simple: “Buddy, are you kidding me? I’m not staying away while something like this is going on. I’m going in. I’m going to call division now. I’ll call you later.”
There was no later.

I have absolutely no doubt that he reached his goal. He was the best fireman in the world. Five weeks after 9-11, when our team was inducted into the Brown Sports Hall of Fame, there were more than twenty of his fireman buddies there to see Pumpy’s young son accept the Hall of Fame award in his name. They all stayed overnight to be there for the half-time ceremony the next day. Our whole 1976 team received an FDNY ball cap with Pumpy’s name on the back.

Pumpy’s positive legacy continues. There is a million dollar scholarship fund in his name and a website dedicated to him, and the FDNY has helped with motorcycle rallies, running races, field dedications and soccer and basketball tournaments. The Staten Island Touch Tackle Winter League, with Chuck's father as League President since 1956, was renamed the Lt. Chuck Margiotta Winter League, to honor his son. When it comes to honoring their dead heroes, there is no doubt in my mind that the FDNY is the best fire department in the world.

… I recalled what Chuck Margiotta’s brother said about courage, reflecting on what could have made him run into a burning tower to his death. According to a guy named Webster, "bravery" is a combination of confidence and firm resolution in the presence of danger. "Courageous," however, is more than brave: it adds a moral element. The courageous man “steadily encounters perils to which he may be keenly sensitive,” but he follows his call of duty, regardless. At no time do either of these definitions mention being fearless: fearless is just the inability to recognize danger.

All the Best,


Jun 27, 2011 Day of 40 Shots
 It was September 1992 and Chuck wanted to go into the Adirondack wilderness on a bird hunting expedition with my Springer Spaniel named “Hunt”. Adirondack grouse are the most difficult birds in the world to pursue. Once bumped up with a dog’s nose the grouse will launch like an angry helicopter giving the hunter only 1/10th of a second to shoot at its fleeting gray image before disappearing behind dense mountain foliage. So it was normal for Chuck and me to carry about 20 shotgun shells each, which the locals thought were too many because no one would ever get 20 shots in one day; two shots might be considered a good day. So off we went into the uncharted backwoods with our double barrel side by side shotguns, a crazy dog and our compasses (the compasses didn't work due to the magnetic nature of the ever present ancient iron ore rocks). The trail was up on a 3000 foot ridge that looked like a giant seven mile horse shoe. Chuck and I had taken a couple of shots and were fortunate to have one grouse each hanging from our equipment belts (we didn't wear backpacks because they were too cumbersome in the Adirondack forest, so our 'Batman Bird Belts' held all of our equipment). Chuck wanted to descend into the center of the geographical horse shoe; at the bottom of the cliffs 3000 feet below in the middle of an uncharted hostile no-where zone because he felt that the birds were down there. I expressed the usual reservations at my friend’s unquenchable bravado; “Chuck, if we go down there and something happens to us no one will ever find us!” Of course, I was ready for Chuck’s answer; “You are the biggest *&^%$)*%^# mouse in the world! Let’s go!” He proceeded to carefully climb down the cliffs. There were a few spots where we had to lower my dog with a rope after Chuck tied a fireman’s type safety harness around the poor animal (my dog smiled the whole time because “Hunt” was just as nuts as Chuck). After about an hour of climbing down we were met with a prehistoric vision of an ancient forest. Large pine trees spaced apart unveiled a fertile field of shotgun opportunities. Suddenly, my dog launched a grouse and Chuck took a shot but missed. Soon after that we were literally running through the woods shooting at grouse that were popping up everywhere. The dog had a demented wide-eyed look as he ran in circles flushing the grouse from under large Paleolithic ferns. Chuck and I couldn’t load our double barrels fast enough as we ran through the forest taking 40 shots while giggling with glee. We were able to get only one more grouse each and then eventually ran out of ammo. On the return ramble, with both of my birds hanging from my belt, I was proud at the way my dog was “healing” by my side as we hiked back on the goat trail. When I looked down, my Springer Spaniel was actually sucking the guts out of the bird’s bottoms as we walked. I said to my dog, “Hey, and I thought you were being good when all the time you were just being sneaky!” Chuck laughed and said in his characteristic fire-smoked grated voice, “I’ve been behind that *&^%*^% dog for the past five miles and wondering when you were going to realize what he was doing. That dog is smarter than you! You need to wise up and stop being so *^%#%^$# na�ve!”
 Bruce Alterman
 Peter Sloan Eident

May 4, 2011 Passing Memory

 Mike and family. This past Sunday was a day that touched me in a way that I wanted to share with you. I was a teammate of Charlies at Brown. If I'm not mistaken we are sitting next to each other in the championship team picture. This past Sunday my wife, Julie Evans, Brown 79 and fellow English classmate of Charlie, had just returned from a two week vacation. Around 3:00 PM Pacific on Sunday. I had a few household chores to do. In the middle of them, Charlie came to mind. I think of him from time to time but usually in the context of conversations with fellow Brown alums. He just popped into my thoughts. It was a passing memory of him, the unique personality he was and the contribution and bravery he demonstrated in his life and how we had talked a few weeks before 9/11 when he was reaching out to make sure I was coming back for the reunion.
That evening we heard on the news of our success in getting Bin Laden. It didn't occur to me at the time but hit me on my way to work on Monday. I was listening to the radio and they were interviewing a number of family members whose loved ones had been lost on 9/11. I can't explain how or why, but for some reason Charlies memory came to me as some sort of message a positive vibe. I can't explain it but it left me with a hopeful and optimistic feeling that I wanted to share with his family. Thanks for listening.

Warmest Regards from a former friend and teammate of Charlies.

Ron Frantz
Brown 79

Jan 15, 2011 Sharing a Tradition
 First I would like to wish my brother Chuck a Happy Birthday, and thank him for always looking down on us. I know he is so proud of his family and all they have survived, and all they have accomplished. Chuck's daughter Norma Jean is now teaching. Chuck must really be smiling to know that his son Charlie will be leaving shortly to transfer to BROWN UNIVERSITY!!...A dream Chuck had for his son. Chuck's wife Norma continues to be "The ROCK" that Chuck always knew she could be...she keeps it all together.

I would like to share something with all of you that happened to me on New Years Eve. It is a long standing tradition, since my parents wedding, to have a shot of whiskey with just the immediate family at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve. So even though everyone scattered to do their own thing for the holiday, ALL the Margiotta's would travel with a tiny shot in a medicine bottle. The reason is because the whiskey had to come from a bottle that was saved from a Margiotta wedding. So it started with a bottle from 1956...then 1982.

Anyway, since 9-11, I visit Chuck at "Angels Circle", the morning of New Years Eve. I have my shot of whiskey with Chuck. This year was no different...except I left later in the day. Coincidence? Because of the weather and the time,(it was already dark), I made a detour. Coincidence? I detoured to The Pretzel Factory" to pick up a few things for our family tradition of New Years snacks, thinking they might be closing. I was correct. As I pulled up to the doors, the Manager had the key in the door to close. He opened for me, I hurried with my purchase, and left.

I got in my car and headed for Angels Circle, just up the block. Surely I figured that it had been visited by many others during the day, who had gone to see their lost loved ones from 9-11. As I pulled up to the intersection of Angels Circle, I was shocked to see that there was not ONE footprint in the snow, which had fallen 5 days earlier with our blizzard. I opened the gate and struggled with the knee high snow as I made my way to Chuck's post and picture. I was so happy that I was there. I cleared an area of snow from in front of Chuck's picture...took out my medicine bottle...and toasted the New Year with Chuck.

As I started to leave, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of grief for all the others lost on 9-11. The untouched snow made me cry for those that were not visited...so I lingered for awhile...coincidence? I finally made my way back to my car. I never listen to music in my car. It is tuned to 1010 WINS News. As I was approaching my car, which I had left running, I could hear the sound of music! Not just any music. I stopped in shock for a moment and tried to comprehend the feelings I was having. Playing from my car was the unmistakable guitar rif which begins "SWEET HOME ALABAMA"! I opened the door to hear the song and called my wife to let her hear it from my cell phone. I couldn't even talk...I was delirious with tears of happiness. Sweet Home Alabama was one of Chuck's all-time favorite songs...Coincidence? Anyone who knew Chuck will attest to this. But in case there are still doubters out there...when our kickstands go up for our annual motorcycle event in Chuck's name, we start our ride with SWEET HOME ALABAMA blasting from the sound system at the event. I don't have an explaination for my radio being tuned in to Chuck's favorite Classic Rock station..and certainly no explaination for the song that was playing as I visited him...COINCIDENCE?...I think not. It was Chuck thanking me and telling me he loves me.

I went home and had the HAPPIEST New Years since losing my brother.

Happy Birthday Chuck.

I Love you and miss you.

Jan 15, 2011 Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Chuckie!