A 10-foot steel beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center in New York is part of the South King Fire and Rescue’s memorial honoring the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A 10-foot steel beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center in New York is part of the South King Fire and Rescue’s memorial honoring the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Federal Way remembers 9/11 terror attacks

Retired NYC firefighter recalls first moments learning of the tragedy.

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.”

South King Fire and Rescue Honor Guard. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

South King Fire and Rescue Honor Guard. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

South King Fire and Rescue Honor Guard. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Community members put their hands over their hearts as the South King Fire and Rescue Honor Guard raises the flag. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Community members put their hands over their hearts as the South King Fire and Rescue Honor Guard raises the flag. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Chaplain Julie Westfall speaks to the crowd during a remembrance ceremony on Tuesday at Fire Station 64 to honor the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Chaplain Julie Westfall speaks to the crowd during a remembrance ceremony on Tuesday at Fire Station 64 to honor the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Construction workers completing the renovation of Fire Station 64 watched the ceremony from the rooftop. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Construction workers completing the renovation of Fire Station 64 watched the ceremony from the rooftop. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Retired New York City firefighter Jeff Cool speaks with a community member following the remembrance event. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Retired New York City firefighter Jeff Cool speaks with a community member following the remembrance event. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Attendees show their patriotic spirit during the event. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Attendees show their patriotic spirit during the event. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A bagpiper honors those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A bagpiper honors those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Part of South King Fire and Rescue’s memorial honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Part of South King Fire and Rescue’s memorial honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

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