9/11 Best Remembered Through First Responders

9/11 Best Remembered Through First Responders

On Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Fire Department lost 343 firefighters/paramedics – about half of its entire fleet of personnel.

Last Sunday, “60 Minutes” featured the NYFD interviewing the men and women who were on the ground and responded to the twin towers site the morning 22 years ago. The piece, which is worth a Google to watch, included video footage and 911 audio never published before, confirming further the horror of that morning.

The story of the day is best told through these firefighters who carry on the legacy of courage and sacrifice exemplified. The surviving firefighters will forever remember their first-hand observations of the day contrasted with the heroic actions displayed by their former colleagues. Twenty-three battalion chiefs responded to the scene and only four survived. One battalion chief told the story of how a colleague died when a jumper literally landed on him from ninety floors up. The jumper desperately fled the tower due to the extreme heat and conditions of the building.

In total, 2,753 people died in New York City, including 343 firefighters and 60 police officers. It has been reported about 20% of Americans knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks.

Time has a way of healing, but an anomaly in that reality would be the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Rather than reflect on the pure evil that led these attacks, it would be wise of all of us to recall on each anniversary day the stories of bravery and heroic rescues that took place. Let’s remember and celebrate the fact first responders are built different than most of us. Hundreds of firefighters entered the burning buildings that day aware they may never walk out and see their families again. These brave souls wanted to save the strangers trapped inside, despite the hell that awaited them inside the stairwells and floors above. Thousands were rescued as a result of these attempts.

Sept. 11 is a date we should always pause to reflect on and remember all the lives lost. While doing so we need to most importantly recall the unsung heroes as well.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.