During the special 9/11 tribute, held Aug. 30, New York fire fighters and officers also thanked delegates for their recovery efforts following the terrorist attacks.
In an impassioned speech, IAFF 1st District Vice President Kevin Gallagher said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of fire fighters from across the country and IAFF staff who provided emotional and financial support to members of Local 94 and Local 854 following the attacks.
"You left your families for weeks at a time to help us," Gallagher said. "Your total commitment in our time of need is something we will never forget."
IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer Vincent Bollon said making September 11 a Day of Remembrance is important so that future fire fighters don't forget the sacrifices their predecessors made.
"I was never so proud to be an IAFF member as I was on 9/11," Bollon said.
Not only did the union raise $167 million for families of deceased fire fighters, but locals in New York and New Jersey helped provide caissons for multiple funerals that the locals helped organize, and the staff of the IAFF's Governmental Affairs and Public Policy Division immediately pursued changes to increase the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB).
Delegates also heard about efforts to build a memorial at New York'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 is intended to honor fire fighters who fell and those who carry on. The memorial was dedicated in June.
"Generations from now, when memories of 9/11 have faded, people will look at this monument and know that something terrible happened here, and then that something extraordinarily heroic happened here when New York City fire fighters willingly entered the burning towers and sacrificed themselves to help those who were in peril," said Harry Meyers, assistant chief with FDNY, in a speech to convention delegates.