D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other local officials on Friday honored the city’s first responders at Engine Company 16 in commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Firefighters in the District rushed to the Pentagon when hijackers flew a jetliner into the building, killing 184 people.
Among those who lost their lives were three students and three teachers of D.C. public schools: students Asia Cottom, Bernard Brown and Rodney Dickens and teachers Sarah Clark, Hilda Taylor and James Debeuneure.
“I want to recognize Chief [John] Donnelly and all the men and women of D.C. Fire and EMS who demonstrate to us each and every day what bravery is, who are at the other end of the call when D.C. residents may be at their most challenged moments. And they know when they make that call that proud men and women will show up to help them‚ their fires, their medical emergencies, their 70-year rains and floods,” said Miss Bowser at the fire station on 13th Street NW. “We also remember the day 19 years ago when we were called on to help our fellow Americans at the Pentagon right from this very station.”
The plane crashes at the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., killed nearly 3,000 people, including more than 400 emergency workers.
“The men and women of the fire department show up every day. They have sick family members at home. They have different opinions on things that are out there. Yet, they are willing to put all that stuff aside and make sure they give their all to this city, a city that we all know and love,” said Dabney Hudson, president of the International Association of Firefighters local 36. “It’s our job to respond to emergencies in the city.”
“It’s hard to believe it was 19 years ago men and women from this fire department responded to the Pentagon. It seems like it was only yesterday,” he said. “But it’s events like this and memorials that you see in the fire houses that keep the spirit of the men and women and first responders that day that rushed into an emergency that never went home to their families alive.”
Mr. Hudson also acknowledged the first responders who survived that day, but suffer from the diseases of the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
Earlier Friday, President Trump commemorated 9/11 at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville. Democratic presidential hopeful Joseph R. Biden is set to visit the memorial in the afternoon.
The U.S. Department of Defense also hosted a ceremony to honor those killed at the Pentagon. This year, the event was closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. Families were unable to attend the event and instead are visiting the memorial in small groups throughout the day, WTOP reported.
To honor first responders, World Central Kitchen and 9/11 Day are distributing 35,000 meals to firefighters, EMTs and frontline healthcare workers across the country in 35 cities including the District.
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