On September 11, 2001, I was more than 850 miles away from the events that would change my country and my profession forever. This event claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent citizens of the United States of America, including 343 of my brother firefighters.
I never meet any of the firefighters who perished that day, but my emotional experience of those horrific events came mostly through the countless news stories we watched at Fire Station 13 in Suwanee, GA that day. September 11, 2001 started the same way for many firefighters that were on duty that day. We reported to work, inspected our apparatus and then sat down for a shift meeting, but suddenly something happened that would change this firefighter’s life forever. The phone rang, “Do you have the TV on?” our Battalion Chief asked. “No sir, what’s going on?” I said. Battalion Chief stated, “Get the TV on and lock the station down, I will have more information coming soon!” Just as I turned on the TV the second plane hit the World Trade Center, our nation was under attack!
Fast forwarded to 2014… Now Firefighter training is different: 2 in 2 out is the rule, situational awareness is a new key word, and fire stations are locked up. On the job training includes more of the terrorist kind of activities. Firefighters are now training to focus on dirty bombs and terrorist activity that we never really focused on before.
Suddenly heroes aren't the ones hitting home runs or starring in movies. A hero to me is someone who has courage, strength, and also has respect for citizens. Thank you to all the firefighters, police officers, EMT’s and Paramedic’s for your service to the community every day.
We will never forget 9-11-01
About the author:
Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a retired Lieutenant/Paramedic/Firefighter with Gwinnett County Fire, GA after 29 years of service. He is currently a contracted employee with NAVICO/Lowrance working as the College Fishing Recruiter. He has been working in the Outdoor Industry for over 20 years. He and his beautiful wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab Jake. They volunteer with Operation One Voice (501c3) helping families of wounded and fallen Special Operations Forces (www.operationonevoice.org)