Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering the 343 on 9/11

Twelve years ago today, over 1,000 men and women, all of them dressed in 50 to 75 pounds of firefighting gear, faced the worst event of their careers.

An attack on the Twin Towers in New York City had the structures damaged and burning.

The first plane hit at 8:45 a.m., and the New York City Fire Department had its incident command center established by 8:50 a.m.

The fire department was on the scene within five minutes.

As business people hurried outside, firefighters raced inside to help.

They wanted to save lives, these firefighters. That is what they were trained to do.

What they loved to do.

What they would die doing.

As firefighters valiantly tried to reach people believed to be trapped on the upper floors, above the point of impact, the unthinkable happened. At 9:59 a.m. the first of the tallest towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.

As we all know, the tower fell without warning. The building was rubble and ash in a matter of seconds.

And 343 firefighters - heroes all - died, along with over 2,000 other people.

I am the wife of a firefighter. Every day could be the day that something goes wrong on the fire scene. This could be the day that a building explodes, a roof caves in, a car crashes into firefighters standing on the side of the road putting out a burning vehicle (something that happened in Roanoke in 1985, killing several firefighters).

Firefighters do a job that most people wouldn't dream of doing. They risk their lives every single time they go to work. When you are running away in fear, they are putting on their hats and heading off to face down whatever it is you are afraid of. Tornadoes, hurricanes, fire, flood, derecho winds, downed power lines or a terrorist attack do not halt these dedicated people. They go forward when the rest of us would hang back.

In 2011, there were 2,450 deaths in the United States as a result of 364,500 fires. There were 13,900 injuries in those fires, and the resulting damage from fires cost $6.6 billion. That same year, there were 80 deaths as a result of 85,400 fires in businesses. There were 1,100 injuries in those fires, and the resulting damage from the fires cost $2.4 billion.

Firefighters responded to over 30 million calls in 2011.

Like other public servants, emergency service workers have been attacked by various political sectors in recent years. How anyone can deny these brave men and women a livelihood in exchange for running into a burning structure is beyond me.

On this 12th anniversary of the attack on New York City, please remember the sacrifices of firefighters and other emergency services workers. They go where no one else dares to go.

You might want to say thank you to them, too. You never know when the life they save might be yours.


  1. Great read Sis!!!!!!!!! I thank them all the time here at work and on the roads. I contribute freely to many local volunteers as well. You just never know when you will be the one in need of their help.

  2. Maybe we need to say "Thank You for your service to firefighters and police as well as those that served in the military!

    So please tell him I said that!

  3. Excellent post, Anita. You husband has my thanks. Did you see the report in the news the other day about the dwindling supply of air tankers, and how even one of the six requested might have saved the 19 firefighters who died in Yarnell earlier this summer?

  4. The men and women fire fighters and police, in addition to our armed forces, have my utmost respect for their service to all of us. Frankly, I think they should be paid more than those in the entertainment and sports industries. We have things a little backwards in society.


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