Early on the morning of September 11, 2018, a handful of members from the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company arrived at station number 1 on Loudoun street. Some wore formal uniforms, some were dressed for duty crew and all felt a somber weight upon them. The normal fire house chatter was missing as the firefighters prepared to leave – It was time once again to commemorate the attacks of September 11th, 2001.
9/11 means different things to different people. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news because what happened that day changed us forever. For many it was sorrow for a loved one, friend or relative lost in New York City, on a plane in Shanksville Pa., at the Pentagon or in the wars that followed. In the fire service, we remember the immense grief of losing 343 of our Brother firefighters when the Twin Towers collapsed. As first responders we also remember the 71 law enforcement members, 8 EMT’s and one member of the FDNY Fire Patrol who lost their lives in the attack. Since then, hundreds of first responders have died of injuries, disease and suicide related to 9/11, all who shall not be forgotten.
At 8:30 we joined the LCFR staff from Leesburg Station 20 and command staff, representatives the Town of Leesburg, the Leesburg Police Department and the Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad at Freedom park to pay tribute to all who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Mayor Burke’s speech reminded us all how important it is that we never forget those who were lost. LVFC Assistant Chief Jim Cook and Leesburg Police Chief Gregory Brown assisted the Mayor in laying a wreath at the Freedom Memorial. The ceremony then observed a moment of silence followed by the tolling of the bell and closed with the playing of Taps.
The Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company would like to thank the Town of Leesburg and Mayor Burke for hosting this remembrance. Afterward, it was remarked that every year these 9/11 ceremonies get smaller and smaller as the memory of that day fades. As first responders it is our duty to remember all of the those who made the ultimate sacrifice and we appreciate all who attended and paid tribute to those who were lost.