Never forget: first responder legacy lives on

By Airman 1st Class Zachary Martyn | Joint Base MDL Public Affairs | Sept. 11, 2017


The Joint Base MDL community remembered the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 during a ceremony here, Sept. 11, 2017.


Fire Station 4, home of the Joint Base MDL 9/11 Memorial, acted as the communal point for those paying their respects. The grounds are home to mangled pieces of steel beams – salvaged from ground zero.


“People amidst the devastation in New York City and the Pentagon gave of themselves with no regard for the race, color, creed or orientation of the people they were helping,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Christopher Bergen, Naval Support Activity-Lakehurst commander and Joint Base MDL deputy commander. “Today, in the current hurricane relief efforts, we see neighbor helping neighbor, strangers helping strangers and first responders risking their lives to save their fellow Americans, just like that day 16 years ago.”


For 16 years firefighters have held a special remembrance ceremony for the 343 first responders who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, either inside the towers, or in the wreckage below. During the ceremony, a bell was rung in increments of five, five times.


“When a firefighter died in the line of duty, it was the mournful toll of the bell that solemnly announced a comrades passing,” said Douglas Hicks, a Joint Base MDL firefighter. “Today, we ring the bell for those heroes lost on September 11, 2001 and for the 66 firefighters we have lost thus far in 2017.”


The responsibility to carry on the memory and legacy of both those who lost their lives in the attacks and those who went beyond the call of duty and sacrificed so much to save as many lives as possible now falls to us, explained Bergen.


“So we remember. The alternative, of course, is to forget and to let those horrific events of 16 years ago fade in our memories,” said Bergen. “Thus, we hear the rallying cry of ‘never forget’ -and it’s appropriate.”