Slowly but steadily, Thomas Cannuli, 79, made the steep climb to the deck of Lilac, the former lighthouse and buoy tender docked at Tribeca’s Pier 25. Step by deliberate step, he ascended the same ladder he had climbed up and down countless times as a Coast Guard seaman, some 60 years ago. Now Cannuli’s son-in-law was close behind. “Keep leaning forward,” said Stephen Byrne, cautioning him about an overhead piece of steel.

“O.K., you’re clear now.”

“I used to fly up those steps,” Cannuli muttered with a smile as he returned to the daylight of the deck.

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Coast Guard Vet Reunites with His Ship After 60 Years