Procession, funeral held for the New Yorkers killed in Iraq

NEW YORK – A native son of Carmel, Indiana, who served with the New York City fire department and died in Iraq was a send-off characterized by sharp military precision, appreciation, and moments of joy.

Captain Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis was celebrated at the University of New York by Mayor Bill de Blasio, fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, and many others after a solemn ceremony near Washington Square Park on Thursday.

On Long Island, a funeral was held for the Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs, another of the four New York Air National Guards killed in a March 15 helicopter crash. The funeral will be held Saturday on Long Island for Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, another fire department veteran, and on April 6, in Tampa, Florida, for the Captain Andreas O’keeffe.

Zanetis, who was attending NYU on Sept. 11, 2001, went to do volunteer work together with professional social workers, the mayor said.

“He went to help in a way that few citizens would think to do or know how to do that,” said de Blasio, a Democrat.

He graduated with honors from the NYU and Stanford Law School, New York officials said.

“There are a lot of New Yorkers who are alive today, because of Tripp,” Nigro said. “Tripp would have done something in life, but what he chose was one of us. … His name will be forever connected with the service, the honor and especially courage.”

Zanetis was me for embracing life to its fullest in the gay community and beyond.

“God bless the people of Indiana, and every place where he’s been, but we say that we have the Tripp as a New Yorker,” de Blasio said to applause.

In Westhampton, Briggs was honored as a dedicated pilot, who encouraged everyone who knew him, to love each other, Newsday reported.

After his service, a long procession drove through his childhood neighborhood in Riverhead on the way to Calverton National Cemetery. If it’s good Riverhead high School, students lined the street, hand on their heart.

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