IAFF: Day of Remembrance - Always Remember, Never Forget

The International Association of Fire Fighters made a promise 6 years ago to "always remember, never forget" what happened Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists launched their attacks on United States soil. With the loss of 343 FDNY members at the World Trade Centers, the day will be remembered as the darkest day in the union's history.

“Like every other fire fighter, I will never forget the courageous and selfless acts of our members that day,” says IAFF General President George Schaitberger. “They marched up the stairs of the Twin Towers and into the Pentagon without a thought to their own safety to help the thousands inside.

“On this day, I say here’s to those who willingly perform selfless acts in the name of saving lives and protecting their country.”

This year, the American Red Cross has loaned its 9/11 Archives to the IAFF. The pictures, cards, letters and objects in that collection are on display in the lobby of the United Unions Building, which houses IAFF headquarters, in Washington, DC. Out of a nation’s collective grief, messages of hope and gratitude poured into Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. Many of the messages were letters received from children across the United States. Handmade cards and letters sent to both the American Red Cross National Headquarters and the Greater New York Chapter were displayed in places such as respite centers, where rescue workers and fire fighters could view them as they worked around the clock.

These cards, letters and objects represent a moment in time when our nation and the world grappled with great tragedy, allowing us the unique experience of seeing this tragedy through the eyes of children. The IAFF unveiled the exhibit as a way to memorialize fallen rescuers from Sept. 11, but also to pay tribute to the fire fighters today who risk their lives every day. To view some examples of the objects on display in the lobby, visit http://www.iaff.org/et/911exhibit.

Last year, the FDNY unveiled a memorial at New York City’s 10 House on the façade of Engine 10/Ladder 10 – which served as a command post for rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. The memorial honors fire fighters who fell and those who carry on. At the IAFF 48th Biennial Convention in Toronto, delegates honored those lost with a moving memorial, then voted to make Sept. 11 a day of remembrance.

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