9.11.01 will always be remembered, not just by the fire service, but by this nation. All the altered lives, all the people affected, even years later, leave an imprint that will never fade. As someone who came into the fire service after that event, I was the beneficiary of the extra attention paid to us in the form of greater staffing, communications equipment, and safety-related purchases. It was all much needed. I am very grateful and appreciative to have benefitted and seen the positive side of what came from this horrific tragedy, to know that some of my friends and I may very well be alive today, and in good health, because of some of the improvements in the fire service that came about after 9.11.
However, today we need to also remember those we lost, those we loved, and those who were irreparably changed on that day. We need to acknowledge the good people like Steve King, a former Chair of structural and proximity firefighting equipment, who worked his last day on 9.11 and almost lost his life, but who also shared his experience with us in a profound way. We need to spend a few moments thinking about the families who lost loved ones they were not able to say goodbye to; we need to recognize those whose health declined post 9.11 and who could no longer remain in the fire service.
The lives lost and the lives altered – their legacy moves forward through our efforts and with our passion and determination to make the fire service and our world safer. Never forget.