South King Fire and Rescue to host 9/11 memorial event

This year’s speaker is Mercer Island native Earl Johnson, who survived the 2001 terrorist attacks.

South King Fire and Rescue is hosting a 9/11 memorial event at Station 64 on Sunday, Sept. 11.

The annual event honors those who lost their lives in the 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as those who are still affected by the ripples of trauma to this day.

Nearly 3,000 people — including 343 firefighters — died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On that date, members of the Islamic group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets and crashed them into both World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

Speaking at this year’s ceremony is Earl Johnson, the author of “Stairwell To Heaven: A 9-11 World Trade Center Survivor’s Story of Escape, Heroism…and Family.” He held a 28-year career in the financial services industry and is a graduate of the University of Washington. Johnson grew up on Mercer Island and Bainbridge Island.

Johnson’s retelling of events beginning at the 51st floor of the North Tower is the first book written by a direct survivor of Sept. 11. Just last year, he returned to Ground Zero in New York with his family, according to the fire department.

The memorial at South King Fire and Rescue Station 64 displays a 10-foot-long piece of steel from the World Trade Center; a stone from the Shankstown, Pennsylvania, the site of Flight 93’s crash; and a block of limestone from the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The memorial was dedicated in 2014.

South King Fire’s 21st anniversary Sept. 11 memorial event is open to the public and begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11 at Station 64 (3700 S. 320th St.) in Federal Way.