Cover art by Alex Smith
On September the 11th 2001, cowards took innocent lives in the name of religion.
Over 3000 people killed. Including 343 FDNY firefighters and 72 New York City Police and Port Authority officers. We watched, as a nation, jetliners crashing into the World Trade Center, one into our Pentagon, and one taken down by passengers, who sacrificed their lives to save many more. We watched our country being attacked, not knowing what would be next.
Observing the 13th anniversary, many memories come back to me. I was a Lieutenant with the Holyoke Fire Department when the attacks unfolded. I watched the news, knowing that this was a bad situation and only going to get worse. My training and experience told me that this would be a day of many lives lost.
When the Twin Towers fell, I knew, as so many others did, those firefighters were dead, because, as the slogan goes, “we run in while you run out.” There was no doubt that we were in there, trying to save lives, though the conditions were grim. The horrific videos and pictures from that day showed Americans only a glimpse of what had happened to our country.
Since that tragic day, we, as a country, have pulled together to stand against terrorism, to show we will not be afraid to live our lives as normal. We built memorials, held tributes, and honored our fallen brothers and sisters.
This week, we will once again honor all who died that day, and who will continually pass-on due to 9/11 fire ground related illnesses.
We will give speeches and recite the timeline. We will ring a bell to honor those who gave their lives to save others. We will read passages, salute the flag, and hear a 21-gun salute.
The fire service will NEVER FORGET, will you?
God Bless America
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Chief Bob Authier graduated Holyoke Community College majoring in Criminal Justice in 1989. He started his career as a firefighter with Holyoke Fire Department in 1991. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2001, Captain in 2003, achieved Deputy Chief in 2005 and earned EMT in 2008. Chief Authier became Chief Fire District No.1 for South Hadley Fire Department in 2011 and became the accredited Fire Chief in 2013 where performs his duties today.