NEW YORK – A coffin holding a vial of Michael Ragusa's (search) blood was carried by firetruck Monday to his funeral, where the 29-year-old became the last of the 343 firefighters killed in the attack on the World Trade Center (search) to be memorialized.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg (search), former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (search) and hundreds of firefighters in dress uniform stood at attention as the firetruck made its way to St. Bernard's Church, in the Brooklyn neighborhood where Ragusa was born and raised.
A day earlier, hundreds of family members, friends and colleagues gathered at a funeral home to pay their respects at his wake.
Many families of the firefighters killed Sept. 11, 2001, held services before remains were identified, but Ragusa's family delayed an official ceremony. Last month, his mother, Dee Ragusa, said they decided they had waited long enough.
"It was a very personal decision for the family," said Gerry Sweeney, a firefighter in Ladder Co. 131. "They really didn't want to go through a memorial service and then hear that a piece of Michael had been recovered and have to go through it again, but I guess they'd figured enough time had passed."
Of the 2,792 people who died in the attack, the medical examiner has identified remains of just over half.
Photos at the funeral home showed Ragusa smiling as a child, hugging his girlfriend, driving his car and fighting a fire.
Dozens of firefighters, including some who took a break from their shifts to come to the memorial, passed through to offer the family their condolences.
"For a lot of us who have dealt with all these wakes and the funerals, this closes some sort of a chapter, for the whole department," Sweeney said.