17 years ago today terrorists hi-jacked 4 planes and used them to attack the U.S. Two of them hitting the world trade towers in New York City killing nearly 3 thousand people, another hitting the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
And the fourth crashing in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers fought back against the terrorists to keep them from the intended target believed to be the White House.
It is a somber day as we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in attempt to save people they never knew in a situation where the odds of them surviving were crumbling on top of them.
It is a day Americans won’t soon forget but for local first responders it hits even closer to home knowing they could have been one of those 3 thousand.
“From 9-11 I remember getting off the night shift, I was asleep, and my wife called and said you’ll never believe what happened,” says Sgt. Joe Watts, Indiana State Police.
“I heard noise, the TV was on. And I though by boy had left the TV on and was watching a movie. So I got up and was going to turn it off and then realized this was live,” says Terre Haute Fire Chief Jeff Fisher.
“And as I went to look at the TV with him that is when the second one hit. So that is when you know, it is not, it’s not an accident,” says Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse.
“And then we knew that we were at war,” says Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom.
As the twin towers crumbled over the streets of New York City first responders in the Wabash Valley felt the hit that would claim the lives of so many of their brothers and sisters.
“And for so many, for so many people to have lost their life on that particular day. It was just, it was life changing quite honestly,” says Cottom.
“The people that lost their lives in New York, and their families, and the little children that are now grown that never got to see their parents,” says Watts.
It is a day they will never forget and a day that has changed their careers forever.
“It has changed the way we look at things. The way we look at fires. The way we look at EMS runs,” says Fisher.
For the people who put their lives on the front line, they never know when they will go on their last run and on 9-11 they are taking time to remember those who woke up on that September morning not knowing what they were about to experience on the other side of that call.
Fisher says, “just knowing that we are doing the job we love, and we are going to continue doing the job we love, just like they did.”
“Whatever we do though doesn’t take back all of the lives that were lost. And again, that is going to be a memory that I will never forget,” says Plasse.
On this day, first responders ask that you take a second and remember the sacrifice that these people made. 9/11 happened in New York but any first responder across the country would make that same sacrifice to save people just like you.