Honey Shore will find special meaning in the events the Martinez Fire Department will be involved in to honor fallen firefighters and their families on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Shore, firefighter and public information officer for the department has a cousin that is a New York City firefighter whose company arrived at Ground Zero just as the first tower was collapsing. For months following, he either pulled duty, sifted through debris looking for his fallen buddies or attended funerals.
"It is real close to home," Shore said. "It is going to be very moving for to stand in front of that flagpole at that time. All firefighters, it is a very close brotherhood."
As part of an event for all fire departments nationwide, five of the seven Martinez Fire Department engine companies will move trucks out of the bay at 9:45 a.m. and assemble in front of the flagpole at 10 a.m. At the exact time the South Tower of the World Trade Centers collapsed, 10:05 a.m., firefighters will run the truck sirens for one minute, then lower the flag to half mast and observe a moment of silence for the 343 New York firefighters that lost their lives in the attacks.
Names of all of those firefighters will be read aloud at headquarters, Engine Co. 1 on Washington Road, before the sirens blare again recognizing the fall of the North Tower at 10:28 a.m. The flag will then be raised back to full mast.
"It is going to be really neat. I actually took the day off in order to participate. I am going to be really proud to stand in front of one of these stations with the guys at attention. It is going to be really moving."
The public is invited to attend.
Two of the companies, 2 on Gibbs Road and 3 on Fury's Ferry Road, may not be back at the station in time to perform the remembrance as they will be attending the short ceremony held at the Columbia County Justice Center and Courthouse Annex.
The ceremony will begin at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane crashed into the north tower, at the flagpole in front of the courthouse. The flag will be raised by Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputies, then lowered to half-staff as Greenbrier High School band plays the national anthem. This will be followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence and closed with the singing of God Bless America.
The department is not only participating in local events. The 13-member honor/color guard is answering a call by the International Association of Fire Chiefs for 100,000 uniformed fire service personnel to participate in a Procession of Honor prior to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation Memorial Service on Oct. 6 in Washington D.C.
"It is being held at the MCI Center because of what happened this year," said Battalion Chief Gary Thigpen. "It is not just for those killed on Sept. 11. It is for every firefighter that has died in the U.S. this year."
The procession is this year's National Fallen Firefighter Foundation memorial event. The route is 10 blocks through downtown D.C. leading to the MCI Center. Uniformed personnel from across the country will line the streets. Honor guards and bagpipe units will lead the procession of families and departments of firefighters killed in the line of duty.
"It is a special thing for (the honor guard) because it is on Sept. 11 and in Washington D.C. and the honor guard is going there to represent Columbia County and all of the community," Thigpen said.
The department will also be receiving a donation of stuffed animals to give to children at fires in remembrance of Sept. 11 events by a large number of girl scouts at headquarters at 11:45 a.m.
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