2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim. They will be honored by remembering their lives,
rather than simply remembering their murderers.
Raymond Meisenheimer, 46, West Babylon, N.Y.
Unit: Rescue 3
Memorial Service held Friday, October 5
On September 11, 2001, Raymond Meisenheimer was two months away from retiring after 20 years of service with the New York City Fire Department.
He and his wife Joanne, their daughters Lauren and Kaitlynn were planning on moving from West Babylon, N.Y. to Holtsville .
Joanne and Raymond had been having the house of their dreams built for his retirement. He had the new patio penciled in, right down to individual flowers and placement of the Jacuzzi. The family had joked that when Ray, a do-it-yourselfer, finished the basement in their new home it would be the "He-Man Woman-Hater's Club" -- a reference to the fact that the whole family was girls and it would be the only haven for the single male of the family. But in all seriousness, the family was looking forward to his actually being home finally on evenings and weekends and during holidays.
Raymond, a West Babylon Class of 1973 graduate, was a fire chief's son. When he was a teenager, fooling around on a motorized racing team in East Farmingdale with his buddy Gerald Murtha, there was always a sense of purpose related to their friendship. Both Murtha and Meisenheimer joined the Engine Co. 222 firehouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, then moved to the elite Rescue 3 Co. in the Bronx and got teaching jobs at the Suffolk Fire Academy in Yaphank.
Mutha described Ray's life as "work, family, work, family, work, family." Meisenheimer was a leader in local and state efforts to plan for events like September 11, and was a leading authority on technical rescue problems like trench collapses. He was just ending his shift on September 11, 2001, when the call came in and he rushed to the scene.
Meisenheimer didn't just enjoy joking with his wife and daughters, but also enjoyed a good ribbing with his colleagues and buddies at work. In 2000, Meisenheimer and a few other New York City firefighters cheerfully took on a weight loss challenge on Good Morning America. He began a serious regimen of exercise, eating well, enjoying a healthier lifestyle and resisting the chocolate donuts that some colleagues jokingly brought in some mornings to tempt him with.
The firefighters who escaped the World Trade Center attack said that they would bring Meisenheimer back to where he belonged. His wife and family finished the dream house and followed through with the basement and patio plans just the way that Ray wanted.
Raymond Meisenheimer, friend, husband, father, teacher, hero, didn't lose his life on September 11, 2001, he gave it.