SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — It’s been 18 years since September 11, 2001, the fateful day that took the lives of thousands.
On Wednesday, the Southport Fire Department remembered the firefighters who sacrificed their lives to save so many others.
343 is the number of firefighters who never came home on September 11, 2001.
The fire department honored those firefighters Wednesday with a memorial followed by a solemn moment of remembrance.
Southport Fire Chief Charles Drew calls it the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s something that we don’t forget,” Drew said.
Drew says it was a day that changed the world.
“That day, the leveling ground was even,” he said. “There was no Republican. There was no Democrat. There was no white or black.”
Drew felt like he lost his brothers and sisters that day.
“Because there’s such camaraderie in the first responder family,” he said.
On the 18th anniversary of 9/11, the fire department filled its driveway with a pair of boots for each of those firefighters who made that ultimate sacrifice.
The day came to a close with a lowering of the flag ceremony and taps.
Dozens or people, young and old, came out to pay their respects.
Drew says this is a day that should never be forgotten.
“This thing is in the history books now,” he said. “It’s important that we remember the ultimate sacrifice that was paid when the call for help was given. Those 343 firefighters responded, not realizing that they weren’t going to be going home that evening.”
Drew says the fire department holds some sort of memorial to remember those 343 firefighters every year.
He says it’s important to also remember those first responders who have died since the 9/11 attacks.