Maritime firefighters to mark 9/11
Some will travel to New York for tenth anniversary
Maritime firefighters are getting ready commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
Some of them will be travelling to New York City to attend services at Ground Zero, while others will be marking the grim occasion at home.
Doug Hamer, former chief of the Riverview Fire Department, has organized a bus trip to New York on Friday for firefighters from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I.
Another busload of firefighters and police officers from the region was expected to leave from Bathurst on Thursday night.
"I think it's just a significant event, particularly for people that are in this line of work to remember and like we say on Nov. 11, lest we forget," said Hamer.
Sept. 11, 2001 is etched in his mind, he said.
He immediately sprang into action to help airline passengers who were grounded in Moncton. But in the back of his mind, he was thinking about the loss of several of his American friends who had responded to the World Trade Center tragedy, he said.
Hamer believes the trip to New York will be a humbling experience for local firefighters.
"For many of them to actually meet some of the New York City firefighters and talk to them and understand that they're just real guys and gals like the rest of us, but we'll be able to personally express what [our] feelings are I think will be a humanistic and very nice thing," he said.
Bathurst Capt. Joe Wiseman, who dons a New York Fire Department hat every September as a sign of respect for the firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty, agrees.
Wiseman said after the attacks, he and many other firefighters and police officers desperately wanted to go help. But the responsibility of protecting their own cities kept them behind.
This year, they will make up for their absences with a trip to New York, said Wiseman, who was getting his dress uniform ready for the trip.
"From a small community it was harder for us to get away and go down and leave our communities abandoned. So we always said that on one of the particular years when they were celebrating an anniversary we would be in attendance," he said.
"I expect emotions are going to run high. There's going to be a lot of tears shed down there, I know that."
In Moncton, Fire Chief Eric Arsenault will be among the firefighters attending the Day of Remembrance service at Victoria Park Sunday at 1 p.m.
The International Association of Firefighters chose Sept. 11 as the day to remember all firefighters who have died on the job.
"There will be a special bell ceremony that will be performed towards the end of the memorial that will serve to acknowledge and remember that on that day, and still today, firefighters are losing their lives," Arsenault said.