The day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Steve Buscemi, who worked as a firefighter from 1980-1984, showed up at his old fire station, Engine Company No. 55 in the Little Italy section of New York.
For the next week he worked 12-hour shifts, digging through the rubble trying to find the bodies of missing firefighters, all the while refusing to do interviews or have his picture taken.
“It was a privilege to be able to do it,” the 45-year-old actor said. “It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn’t really think about it as much, feel it as much.
“It wasn’t until I stopped that I really felt the full impact of what had happened. It would have been much harder for me to get through it if I hadn’t been able to do that.”