AIKEN, S.C (WJBF)- One local fire department remembers fellow firefighters who sacrificed their lives during one of the most devastating days in American History.
“343 firefighters,” said Marty Bailey, Treasurer, Aiken Firefighters’ Association.
The New Ellenton Fire Department is remembering just a quarter of the souls that were lost on 9/11, two decades ago.
“Because we’re all brothers and sisters in the same line. We don’t do half of what they did New York, but we want to keep their memory alive and we walk because they can’t,” said Bailey.
Every year for the past 7 years, the Aiken County Firefighters’ Association hosts the Heroes Remembered” 9/11 Memorial Walk in Aiken. Volunteers and firefighters gather at Old Citizen’s Park on Old Airport Rd and walk two miles around the track.
Among those 343 firefighters that died were 71 other emergency workers.
“It’s in support of them. They didn’t get to come home to their families and we do,” said William Stone, Volunteer Firefighter, New Ellenton Fire Department.
William Stone is a volunteer firefighter with the New Ellenton Fire Department. He says even though he wasn’t alive during the 9/11 attacks he grew up learning about it.
“And it’s just something that should’ve never have happened, they should’ve been able to come home to their families, so that’s why I walk,” said Stone.
But not just for those emergency workers that died on that day, but also for those who suffered long after that horrific morning.
“We had 343 that died at the scene, now it’s jumped over 3 thousand who died from cancer with breathing it in. That’s not to discount any of the civilians that were helping and the military and all. We’re all appreciative of them, but we’re here to memorialize the firefighters that last their lives,” said Chief Gregg Bailey, Couchton Fire Rescue.
The ceremony started with a prayer and raising of the flag- a symbol that honors our nation and it’s heroes. Marty Bailey, one of the organizers of this event says they’ll be walking for an even bigger cause on 9/11.
“We did it a week before because a lot of folks will be going to the Charleston walk which will be on the 11th, but for those who can’t go to Charleston and those who are going to go, but still want to participate here, we had it on today,” said Bailey.
The Charleston Silent Walk will begin at 6 am at Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant South Carolina.