A bond of brothers

September 7, 2011 1:58:16 PM PDT
For Matt and Carl Asaro, Jr., the sound of the siren is the song of their lives.

It's not just a calling to become firefighters, but a tribute to their father who joined the FDNY a generation before.

"My father was there to help people and that's what we're here for, you know," Matt said.

"If I can rise up from where I come from, you know my father's passing, nothing really stands in the way of me becoming a fireman," Carl said.

Their father, Carl Asaro, Sr. was just 39 years old when he was killed on September 11th.

He was a member of Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 -- a firehouse that suffered one of the biggest losses that day. An entire shift, 15 firefighters, died at ground zero.

Carl Jr. and Matt are two of six children he left behind.

"Even when I try to talk about it, tears just fall out," Matt said, tears in his eyes.

The emotions, now 10 years later, are still so raw.

"He was my best friend," Matt said. "I don't know. We had this special bond. That was hard to break."

In fact, that bond between father and sons lives on. Matt and Carl believe their calling to become firefighters is in their blood.

"I just feel like he's running through my veins, you know? I can't wait to sit down and take the fire, the test," Matt said.

It is not just Matt and Carl who will take the firefighters exam this January. Carl's twin brother Phil will also join them in a remarkable testament to their father's legacy.

"You know I think it will be great to have my brothers there. We can share, confide in each other and empathize with one another," Carl said.

Carl hopes to be assigned to the same firehouse as his father.

It is a place that over the last decade has become a source of solace and strength to work alongside the men who became their surrogate fathers.

"I think it would really give comfort to my family, my mother, the guys at the firehouse as well to know that the Asaro name lives on in the firehouse and that he's never been forgotten," Carl said.

Despite their father's death, the brothers say they're not afraid of the risks involved with firefighting.

"I feel like the fear, the worst, is over. So I don't have anything left to worry about," Matt said.

"I feel like we're in the fire department already because you're a team, you're a family, gotta' work together," Carl said. "Getting there, to the fire department, would be one step closer to being happier."