CLINTON — Eighteen years after the terrorist attacks on America, the Clinton Fire Department took time Wednesday to honor the men and women who risked their lives, many never returning home.
The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center changed the United States forever, Clinton Fire Chief Mike Brown said. The short Wednesday ceremony was attended by a group of Prince of Peace students who led attendees at Central Fire Station in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Brown spoke to the children about the impact of the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93.
“Eighteen years ago, a terrible thing happened on a gorgeous September morning,” Brown said. “For those of us that were around here, it’s a day that we’ll never, ever, ever forget. The whole world vowed to never forget.”
Brown said the department wore special badges in solidarity with the FDNY and other impacted first-responder groups in the wake of the attacks.
Though time has removed the group from the initial impact of Sept. 11, 2001, the sentiments of unity and healing have remained, according to Brown. Now, nearly two decades have passed since the towers fell in New York City, another airplane hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and another went down in a rural Pennsylvania field. Soon, Brown said, a changing of the guard within his department will bring in a new group of younger men and women who weren’t even alive to see it all unfold.
“Pretty soon here, we’re going to start hiring young men and women who were born after that event,” Brown said. “Our job, while we’re still here, is going to be to remind them, and make sure that they understand what happened that day.”
According to Brown, 343 firefighters lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
“They just went to work and they never came home,” Brown said.
With tragedy came heroism, Brown said. The chief also commended police officers and Port Authority officials who were killed, along with the brave group of airline passengers who overtook a hijacked airplane bound for the United States Capitol Building, ultimately crashing it in rural Pennsylvania.
Though tears of mourning fell 18 years ago, the stories of heroism and bravery in the following minutes and hours have lived on as Americans truly have not forgotten.
“They died heroically,” Brown said of all those he mentioned. “All the events that happened that day, they’ll always live in our minds. I just want to ask everyone to just take a minute to close your eyes and remember those that lost their lives that day, and remember what they did and risked for our country.”