WACO, Texas – A Moment of Silence was held to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives 18 years ago on September 11, 2001.
“I was actually a firefighter in the City of Fort Worth on that day. I remember the first tower being struck, and everyone thought it was an accident. We all went to the TVs to see what took place – and as time progressed, it was not an accident. But a true attack on our country,” says Waco Fire Chief Bobby Tatum.
Firefighters across Waco came together to remember and honor those who died in the attacks and also gave their lives to help people trapped in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
“This day, September 11, symbolizes the sacrifice that our first responders made on this fateful day in 2001. We just want to remember them. We want to keep them in our hearts and just, really, say thank you,” Tatum says.
In addition to the Moment of Silence, the firetruck lights were on display, and the first responders said a prayer together.
“It symbolizes a response for assistance, and it symbolizes something that most people would consider heroic. In my personal opinion, I don’t consider firefighters as heroes. I consider us more as guardians. The difference is a guardian is proactive in protecting, whereas a hero is going after the fact,” Tatum says.
Tatum also says the attack changed the way first responders operated.
“As Americans, we didn’t have the ocean to separate us from terrorism. It was actually on our soil. It changed our lives as first responders and as firefighters. It changed us, because we consider ourselves now as the first line of defense. When an event happens in our country, it’s the first responders, police, and firefighters that are on the front lines,” Tatum says.