Southport Fire Department holds memorial ceremony for 343 firefighters who died on 9/11
SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — 343. That is the number of first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11th, 2001.
With boots and American flags laid in front of Southport’s Fire Headquarters, residents, law enforcement and public leaders gathered to honor those who died.
“Honoring those first responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice on September 11th. Those 343 firemen, you see the boots behind us, that chose to run into a burning building to extinguish fire and save lives,” said Southport Mayor Joe Pat Hatem.
Throughout the ceremony, flags were dropped at the exact times planes hit the Twin Towers and Pentagon. The sounds of bagpipes and music, as well as moments of silence were used to honor the fallen.
Southport Fire Chief Charles Drew said this day and ceremony is important for the fire department because it shows the realities of their job.
“I feel like that Southport is committed to remembering the event on 9/11 2001, because we have a very difficult job. You never know when we leave the station if we’re ever going to return and come back, we don’t know what we’re going to face,” said Drew.
Walking amongst the boots and flags at the event was Michael Dingelstedt, a retired New Jersey firefighter who moved to Southport last year. He was so impressed by last year’s ceremony he attended again this year. He says while the tragedy that day was terrible, it truly showed how America could come together as one.
“September 11th, everybody came together. I remember there was no race differentials, everybody was an American at that time and everyone came together. We were all Americans, and we were all one and I think that’s something that we need to get back to,” said Dingelstedt.