The Douglas Fire Department held its annual 9/11 memorial last week honoring those who lost their lives 11 years ago.
On Sept. 1, 2001 there were four coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. area.
Nineteen terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally piloted two of those planes into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Both towers collapsed within two hours.
The hijackers also intentionally crashed a jet into the Pentagon and intended to pilot the fourth hijacked jet into the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.; however, the plane crashed into a field near Shankesville, Pa. after its passengers attempted to take control of the jet from the hijackers.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks including the 246 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes.
Douglas’ Fire Chief Mario Novoa was the keynote speaker at last week’s memorial.
“Every year we gather here at the Douglas Fire Department to honor those who lost their lives,” he said. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years since we had that terrorist attack on our homeland soil.”
The Chief said while many visitors and those working in the buildings were trying to get out, several hundred fire fighters were trying to get in.
“As a nation we were all in shock,” he said. “But the ripple event after that tragic day has reached almost every community in its own personal way.”
The events of that day have cost Douglas some of its hometown hero’s who have lost their lives for what all began that day, the Chief said.
“DFD was hit extremely hard by Sept. 11 and for all the years that followed even more heart ache hit us,” he said. “One of our own fire engineers lost his sister to the after effects of Sept. 11, 2001.”
Rick Martinez, who was unable to attend last Tuesday’ tribute, lost his sister several years later due to breathing complications from all the stuff she breathed in while at Ground Zero where she worked as a Red Cross volunteer.
The Chief encouraged those in attendance to educate our young children about what happened that day and about those who died making sacrifices for others.
“As Americans we must restore the core values that our country was founded on,” the chief said. “We must make sure future generations know why it is important to have respect for our flag.”
The chief encouraged everyone to respect one another regardless of skin color or political affiliation.
“After all we are all Americans,” he said. “We believe in what our ancestors have fought for and what our soldiers are currently fighting for, our freedom, our way of life.”
Last Tuesday’s ceremony also featured the traditional flag ceremonies by the DFD Color Guard. Following the ceremony guests were treated to an open house at the Douglas Fire Department.