Retired Firefighter Lee Ielpi Recalls Finding His Son's Body In 9/11 Wreckage In NY

Lee's story is powerful.
On September 11, 2001, people around the world were horrified as they watched the World Trade Center attacks unfold before their eyes. People who were in New York City during the attacks themselves had to contend with a reality that was hard to believe — in only a matter of moments, so many things changed.

For one retired firefighter, the day was doubly tragic: Lee Ielpi arrived at the scene to help in any way he could — but also to find his 29-year-old son Jonathan, who had become a firefighter just like his dad.

Lee wasn't the only one. He told Inside Edition, "Cars were flying past us. I mean, you want to do 100? Do 100. You want to go through red lights, go through red lights. And who's doing this? All off-duty firemen, all off-duty cops, all volunteer fire department guys. We're all coming in to try and help in one way or another."

He eventually met up with former coworkers, who were all there for the same reason: to find the people they knew and loved. "So I just made up my mind that I'm going to start searching right now, right here, this very minute," he explained. "If I find somebody alive, it's going to be a blessing for that family. When I find my son, it is going to be a blessing for my family."

After months, Lee eventually found Jonathan. You can listen to his own words in the video to find out what that moment was like.