Police Officer Vincent G. Danz
Shield 2166

Vincent G. Danz was a member of the New York Police Department's Emergency Service Unit's third squad in the Bronx. The elite unit's officers are experts in areas like psychology, rappelling, scuba diving, first aid and marksmanship. Officer Danz liked the excitement and challenge of the E.S.U.

Officer Danz, of Farmingdale, N.Y., was also a husband, and a father of three daughters, including an 8-month-old. With the two older girls, he liked to watch "SpongeBob SquarePants," a Nickelodeon cartoon.

"He was a special breed," Felix Danz said of his brother, who at 38 was the youngest of nine children. "I'd always ask him if he had any good jobs lately. He'd say, 'Yeah, I had this subway "pin job," ' where some poor soul was taken out by the subway, or even worse, still alive."

"The E.S.U. guys are the ones who go on the tracks, find some way to lift up the train and get those people out," Mr. Danz continued. "He wasn't boastful. He wasn't one of those guys with the swelled chest at the bar. He loved his work and the guys that he worked with. They would die for one another. I think that goes globally for the N.Y.P.D. My brother and his partner went into the trade center without any questions. They knew what to do and how to do it. Unfortunately, this thing was bigger than either of them."
- The New York Times 10/27/2001

The sound of the drums silenced the people lined up on both sides of Conklin Street in Farmingdale before most of them could even see the Emerald Society drum corps, which had to start its honor guard a quarter mile down the road to accommodate the crowd at the memorial Mass for New York City police officer Vincent Danz.

Friday morning, a day of 15 other memorials in New York and Long Island, the morning sun was hot; and when the officers and firefighters across the street from St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church removed their hats to wipe their brows, it exposed a crease in their foreheads - a red line that must grow deeper with every funeral service they attend.

They attend a lot of them, all for people who died - in the words of the death notices that appeared in this newspaper on Friday alone, "tragically," "heroically," "suddenly," "bravely" - on Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center.

The crowd this time was composed of family and friends of the deceased, pressed together around the steps of St. Kilian's, a parish that memorialized eight parishioners last week alone; police officers and firefighters at attention in full dress uniform, some of them for the 15th or 20th time in a week; neighbors and on-lookers and local merchants who shuttered their stores to be a part of the community of mourning.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was there, a welcome, if odd-looking, figure: square shouldered, square-jawed, barrel-shaped, slightly bent, as if nursing a stomach ache; complexion as pale as an actor smeared with cold cream backstage after a play. He received gentle applause from the mourners and the shopkeepers.

When they heard the drumbeats start, all the small-talk stopped, all the heads turned. There is a quiet in the woods, but no quiet is as deep as the kind that happens when 3,000 or 4,000 people simultaneously stop making a sound.

The police officers and firefighters, wearing flat-topped hats, stood in straight lines. The rest of the people were hatless, the morning sun shining off their sea of fresh-combed heads. The drums were all you heard.

The Emerald Society men wore black kilts and black berets with two black ribbons dangling behind, a green pom-pom on top, green sashes across their chests. They walked in a stiff marching style - half motion, half stillness. With their drums, cased in black canvas, they made drum rolls followed by three slow beats.

It is a hypnotic rhythm in a numbing routine that will come to embrace hundreds of firefighter and police officer services, yet each of these tremendous ceremonies marks a very personal grief.

"There's a big picture and a small picture, and both are overwhelming," Msgr. James P. Swiader, the pastor at St. Kilian's, said afterward. "Each service is about one person, and yet it is also about the loss suffered by an entire community. We try to recognize both."

In the Catholic Church, they are calling these services "memorial Masses" instead of funeral Masses, he said. When there is no body, they cannot call it a funeral.

Danz was an emergency services officer. His unit entered the towers after the first and before the second of the hijacked planes struck. He called his wife, Angela, shortly after he got there to say that he was all right, and to ask her to pray "that we can get some of these people out."

Before he hung up, according to the homily by a cousin, Deacon James Murphy of Syosset, Danz told his wife he loved her and the girls - Winifred, Emily and Abigail - and added, "Say a prayer for me, too."

At one point during the memorial Mass, Angela Danz spoke bravely - about her husband, his faith, his love of family, his humor - then sat down and leaned over to one of her children to say some words. Then she pulled the child onto her lap for the duration.

Outside, most of the officers, including the Emerald Society drum corps, stood and talked; some smoking cigarettes, some making calls on their cell phones. Some smiled and talked as if nothing unusual was happening on this warm October morning in 2001.

Every one one of them, though, has that deep, red crease in the forehead.

We all do.
- New York Newsday Victim Database 10/07/2001

Police Officer Vincent G. Danz, 38 was appointed to the Housing Police Department on January 21, 1987, and began his career on patrol in Police Service Area 9. A former member of the Housing Bureau's Emergency Service Unit, he was assigned to ESU 3 after the merge of departments in April 1995. Prior to becoming a police officer, PO Danz held a carpentry position in the Dockworkers Union. A onetime member of the United States Marine Corps reserves, at the time of his death he was a marine safety technician iwth the Coast Guard reserves. An avid sports fan, PO Danz loved to debate fellow officers over the merits of his beloved Mets versus those of the Yankees. His love of hockey resulted in him starting a floor hockey team in PSA 9. He is survived by his wife Angela; children Abigail, Emily and Winifred; mother Ellen; sisters Bernadette, Mary Louise, Pamela and Suzanne; and brothers Felix, Greg and Timothy.
- SPRING 3100, Commemorative Issue

(patch created by a volunteer for the
CubScout Pack 233 Memorial American Flag Quilt)

(patch from Barnum Woods Elementary School Quilt)