First responders, community members, city officials, parents and children gathered on Wednesday afternoon at Fire Station 64 in Federal Way to remember the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Dozens of attendees heard recollections of the life-changing event from South King Fire and Rescue Chief Dr. Allen Church, chaplain Corby Hunich, driver engineer Jacob Czekanski and keynote speaker Capt. Michael M. Dugan, a 27-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York.
Sarah Goodin, 8 years old, performed “Amazing Grace,” for the dozens of attendees at the Sept. 11 event.
As a Lieutenant, Dugan served in Ladder Company 42 in the South Bronx. While assigned as a firefighter in Ladder Company 43 in Spanish Harlem, Dugan received the James Gordon Bennett Medal in 1992 and the Harry M. Archer Medal in 1993, the FDNY’s highest honor for bravery.
Including his volunteer service, Dugan has been involved in the fire service for 46 years. Dugan was one of the first responders at ground zero 18 years ago on Sept. 11.
“What I love to talk about when I talk about this is not September 10, not September 11, but October,” Dugan said. “Later.”
Dugan said he doesn’t remember much of the rest of September, due to the repercussions of the terrorist attacks, but he will always remember the unity of a nation that emerged the following month.
“But I remember October. I remember what our nation was like in October. I remember what we were like as people,” he told the crowd.
“We were all brothers and sisters. It did not matter the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, it did not matter if you were Republican, Democrat, or libertarian — it did not matter. We were Americans. We were one nation. We were together.”
Station 64’s memorial and the annual event hosted by South King Fire is paid for by community contributions to the South King Firefighters Foundation. For more information or to make a donation, visit firefightersfoundation.org.