An artist has completed a colossal painting to honor the 343 firefighters and paramedics who lost their lives at Ground Zero, a feat five years in the making that was completed just days before the 14th anniversary of the the 9/11 attacks.
"I think being a firefighter is a very dangerous job," Yi Yang of Flushing, New York told ABC News today. "These people from 9/11 are heroes. All of them are great."
Yang, 58, said he came to the United States from China in 1995 where he soon made a living drawing caricatures in Central Park.
Yang said that following the 9/11 terror attacks, many people would show him photos of their loved ones who had died -- asking him to create a portrait.
In 2010, Yang said he saw a mural on the side of the Flushing firehouse that inspired him to paint a tribute of his own.
"I collected a lot of pictures from the Internet [of the victims]," Yang said. "I am an American citizen. I wanted to do something for Americans, for New York...I'm so, so grateful and I never want to leave."
The five-piece mural, who took five years to complete, features all 343 faces of the FDNY first responders who were killed at the World Trade Center, as well as Mount Rushmore, George Bush on a megaphone, and touching portrayals of firefighters embracing one another.
"The picture came out very good," Yang said. "I used realism. I didn't want to make it look too perfect."
The painting is currently sitting in Yang's apartment.
He said he hopes it is featured either in a museum, or downtown near the firehouse where he was inspired.