My father, Edmond P. Coglianese, was a Lieutenant with the Chicago Fire Department. He gave his life, the ultimate sacrifice, doing what he loved and serving the citizens of Chicago on January 26th, 1986. He saw to the safe exit of several residents during an arson related fire at a transient hotel before returning again to search for more victims and succumbing to smoke inhalation and burns. I was 12 and my brother Matthew was 9.
The difficult part of mourning my father's death was that I wanted and somehow needed everyone around me, everyone in Chicago, to be in mourning as well. But that was not to be. The Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl later that day and now everyone's attention and priorities turned to celebrating the big win. Sharing this "anniversary" of my hero's life and sacrifice with that of many Chicagoans' "heroes," a professional football team's championship will never cease to fade from the media's memory. Every year, every Super Bowl, thousands in and around Chicago reminisce and celebrate the 1985 Chicago Bear's victory. It is on the news, in the papers, it is everywhere. But only a few dozen or so remember and celebrate the life of a true hero.