Most of us kept a somber remembrance of some kind yesterday, September 11, perhaps reliving the emotions of the day, perhaps mourning someone we lost.
Loss was definitely on the mind of the Scouts and Scouters of Troop Forty from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., although none of the boys now in the troop were there eight years ago. One of the more than 2,700 who died in New York was our Scoutmaster, Michael Andrew Boccardi.
Credit: Ed MaselliMike, just 30 years old, had grown up in Troop Forty, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, then becoming an assistant scoutmaster and finally in the mid-90s Scoutmaster. He was practically married to the troop, giving loads and loads of time and attention, and not a little bit of his own money, to every detail of the program and to the Scouts and Scouters. For more than one Scout, Mike was the only father in their lives.
He also served young people through Rockland County Child Protective Services.
Mike was one of five Mt. Vernon citizens who perished on 9/11. When the city decided to memorialize them with a plaque at city hall this year and invited Troop Forty to participate in the memorial service on the evening of September 11, 2009, we eagerly accepted. In particular, during the service five Scouts lit candles in honor of the five who died: Michael A. Boccardi, Johnathan Eric Briley, Sandra Patricia Campbell, Katie Marie McCloskey, and Rochelle Monique Snell
The ceremony honored all the first responders of Mt. Vernon as well as remembering those who lost their lives. A substantial number of city officials, police officers, firemen, and others attended, in addition to the Scouts, Scouters, and parents.
Mike Boccardi wasn't a 9/11 hero. He was just at work on the 92nd floor of the North Tower, as usual. But he was a hero every day with the young people of Troop Forty. I witnessed that for six years as I served alongside him with the troop, and I saw it again at Mt. Vernon City Hall in the tears of one of those boys, now a young adult.