BRIDGEPORT — It’s an interesting time in the fire service, said Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode. It’s a time when some of the newest firefighters are just old enough to have been alive for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — and a few are old enough to remember the horrific day.
But they weren’t firefighters then, Thode said. And that makes a difference.
“They understand, as Americans (how devastating the day was) but they don’t understand as firefighters,” he said.
Thode spoke before a few dozen firefighters, police officers, clergy, public officials and others Wednesday outside of the Bridgeport Fire Department Headquarters, as part of a service to honor the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On Sept. 11, 2001, planes hijacked by terrorists were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and another plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Services like the one in Bridgeport on Wednesday are important, Thode said, to let young firefighters know the devastating impact of the attacks not just on the country, but also on firefighters. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, including more than 300 New York firefighters.
Thode said most firefighters wake up in the morning not knowing what the day holds.
“God willing, they’ll finish out their 24-hour shift uneventfully and go home to their families,” he said. The anniversary of 9/11 is a time to recognize the many firefighters for whom that didn’t happen that day, Thode said.
Others who spoke during the service included Deputy Chief Lance Edwards.
“Another year has gone by and we still gather to remember the lives lost,” he said. “Life is unpredictable. Life is precious. And the men and women in uniform who entered those towers to save others will always be heroes.”
The opening prayer was given by the Rev. James B. Logan, who thanked God for strength during times of tragedy.
“The towers are down, but you’re keeping us standing up today,” he said.