First responders, community members, city officials, parents and children gathered on Tuesday afternoon at Fire Station 64 in Federal Way to honor the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
The first responders of 9/11 acted like warriors and among the physical injuries, many have unseen injuries of the soul, said Chaplain Julie Westfall of South King Fire and Rescue to the nearly 100 attendees of the observance ceremony.
Jeff Cool, a retired New York City firefighter, recounted his first moments learning of the tragedy while watching TV with his child.
“Moments later, the news was reporting for all off-duty New York City firefighters and police officers to respond to the wreck. My family was pleading with me not to go,” he said. “I hugged them, and told them I loved them and off I went at close to 100 miles an hour in a Toyota Corolla into the city,” Cool said.
As he neared the city, he said, roads were closed. Cool was stuck with hundreds of firefighters and police officers responding to the wreckage.
“We could see the towers burning and the smoke rising into the clear blue sky,” he said.
Never forget and never let those two words lose their meaning, said Fire Chief Administrator for South King Fire and Rescue, Dr. Allen Church.
“We must continue to tell the stories of 9/11, or it will just be history,” he said, recognizing the valor of the 9/11 first responders. “They looked fear straight in the face and made the ultimate sacrifice.”