Chicago, US ob­serve an­niver­sary of ter­ror at­tack with solemn cer­e­monies

Chicago Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Javonte An­der­son

Chicago fire­fight­ers gathered down­town Wed­nes­day to honor those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. “On this day, we must never for­get our New York broth­ers,” Fire Bat­tal­ion Chief Pat Maloney said. Amer­ica marked the 18th an­niver­sary of the worst ter­ror at­tack on U.S. soil with wreath-lay­ings and a solemn roll call of the dead in New York. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump laid a wreath at the Pen­tagon and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence spoke near Shanksvill­e, Pennsylvan­ia.

There weren’t many words spo­ken. There was no need.

The rev­er­ence for those who lost their lives in Amer­ica’s dead­li­est ter­ror­ist at­tack was pal­pa­ble.

Dozens of Chicago fire­fight­ers, in their dress blue uni­forms, gathered down­town Wed­nes­day morn­ing in front of the fire sta­tion at 55 W. Illi­nois St. to honor those who lost their lives dur­ing the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

“On this day, we must never for­get our New York broth­ers,” Fire Bat­tal­ion Chief Pat Maloney said dur­ing a brief cer­e­mony.

Hanging from the lad­ders of two fire en­gines lean­ing to­gether, the Amer­i­can flag swayed in the wind.

Just be­fore 7:40 a.m. Chicago fire­fight­ers, lo­cal politi­cians, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot marched in front of the fire sta­tion to pay homage to the lives lost on Sept. 11. At 7:46 a.m., stand­ing shoul­der to shoul­der, they ob­served a mo­ment of si­lence mark­ing the time the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Cen­ter.

Then three sets of five rings re­sounded. The ring­ing sig­ni­fied the end of duty for the fire­fight­ers who lost their lives, Chicago Fire De­part­ment spokesman Larry Lang­ford said.

As the mo­ment of si­lence got underway, on­look­ers gathered across the street from the fire sta­tion to watch and pay their re­spects.

Randy Smith, of Min­neapo­lis, said he was stay­ing at a nearby ho­tel when he saw tele­vi­sion cam­eras near the fire sta­tion and fig­ured it was a 9/11 cer­e­mony.

“It’s a big deal,” he said. “We lost a lot of good men and women. It’s very sad.”

Lightfoot, who spoke to re­porters af­ter the cer­e­mony, said it’s cru­cial for peo­ple to un­der­stand the mag­ni­tude of 9/11 and how it for­ever changed the coun­try.

“It’s im­por­tant that we give re­spect to our first re­spon­ders, peo­ple whose lives were lost and also the vic­tims whose lives are still be­ing shaped by those events.”

Lightfoot added that it’s im­por­tant that emer­gency re­spon­ders in Chicago have the re­sources they need.

“They do run to dan­ger,” she said. “They do put their lives at risk ev­ery sin­gle day. They never know when their next call might be the end of their ser­vice.”



Two women watch as a bell is rung by Chicago Fire De­part­ment Bat­tal­ion Chief John Jakubec dur­ing a pro­gram to ob­serve the 18th an­niver­sary of the 9/11 ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

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