A group of local firefighters and law enforcement officers are doing their part to ensure no one forgets the public servants who paid the ultimate sacrifice 18 years ago.
On Sept. 11, those individuals will gather at Papillion Fire Station 3, 146 N. Adams St., to pay respect to the 343 firefighters who gave their lives during the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Anthony Strawn, a Papillion firefighter and president of the Papillion Professional Firefighters Local 3767, said the remembrance ceremony began five years ago with the help of PFD firefighter Mike Connolly.
“Mike came to Papillion from FDNY (New York City Fire Department) and helped start this event,” Strawn said. “He showed us how to respectfully honor the memory of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
In honor of those firefighters, the names of all 343 who died that day will be read, beginning at 8:46 a.m., the time the first tower at the World Trade Center was struck that day.
Strawn said they expect to have about 20 to 25 local firefighters and law enforcement on hand for the event.
With the tragedy now 18 years in the past, Strawn and his fellow firefighters believe it is critical that the memory of those individuals does not get lost over time.
“We want to make sure we never forget that day and remember there are still FDNY and NYPD members dying from medical conditions caused by this event,” he said. “We must remember and honor this so our children and grandchildren can learn from our past.
“I am not sure there are many of us in the fire service that can totally grasp the magnitude of this event. That is why this event is so important to our membership. This is one day we take time away from all the politics to truly honor the reality of what it means to serve your community.
“This is not a celebration. It is our small way of honoring the memory of our brothers and sisters.”