Do you remember where you were when America was under the largest attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor? Many people do. This is a question that is asked by millions. The images from the television that day were burned like a horror film into our brains, to never be forgotten. Is it apart of who we are as Americans to stand up for our country and bleed red, white and blue when we are attacked, or is it because of the planes and in the buildings were our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers and husbands and wives that perished that tragic day due to the hate of others?
Every year when September 11th comes around, the nation stops to morn the loss of innocent lives. We put flags on our cars to remind us of what we stand for, we lay flowers of the graves of those who perished and say prayers as tears fall from our eyes as we cannot image the horror of what more than 3,000 of our own went through that day.
With no group loosing more of its own, the fire department was vital to the aid in the September 11th attacks. A flag hanging from a ladder truck in the parking lot of the Huntsville Fire Department is a silent but powerful reminder that they have not forgotten their fellow brothers and sisters that died that day.
“We wanted to show support to the 343 members of the brotherhood that were lost that day,” said Assistant Fire Chief John Waldo. “We want to show that we are still thinking about them and we will not ever forget the ultimate sacrifice they made.”
While the Huntsville Fire Department was on call to offer their assistance if needed that day, members of the fire department had the reminder of the dangers that their job carries on a daily basis.
“It brought home the fact that everything we do at this job is a risk,” said Waldo. “We are here to save lives and protect property, but we also know that a day might come for us to lay down our lives for others to live.”
Most of the firefighters at ground zero were in full time, paid positions, but many volunteer firefighters from all over the nation went to New York and gave countless hours in the aftermath of the attacks.
“Most [of the firefighters in the Huntsville Fire Department] are volunteers,” said volunteer firefighter, John Collins. “Most of the volunteers dedicate their lives, like they are getting paid a million bucks.”
With the years slowly bringing comfort to the families of those who died, we are reminded that we must never let our hearts grow cold and allow our lives to be complacent.
“In this line of work, this is something that we can never forget,” said firefighter Jeremy O’Neill. “The attack on September 11th was like a 2nd Pearl Harbor.”
As millions of children will now grow up without their fathers and many mothers who laid their sons to rest for eternity, Americans should not only remember the sacrifices made on September 11th but should strive to stand behind our troops today who are fighting to keep our country safe.
“I know it sounds generic but it’s something that we can’t ever forget,” said volunteer firefighter David Cohen. “We will never forget.”