- Friday, 10 September 2021 at 2:40 am
On the 20th anniversary of September 11, Fire Rescue Victoria firefighters across the state today paid tribute to the 2,977 victims killed in the attacks.
Firefighters held one minute’s silence at 9.03am, the time the second plane hit the second World Trade Centre tower.
Flags at all FRV fire stations were flown at half-mast during the commemoration, as a mark of respect for the victims, their families, friends and all who have been impacted by the terrible tragedy.
Fire Rescue Commissioner Ken Block said Victorian firefighters stood in solidarity with their colleagues in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
“Today we remember the 343 firefighters from FDNY whose lives were tragically lost in this devastating event 20 years ago,” Commissioner Block said.
“These were brave people who went to work and never came home. We also recognise the 227 firefighters who have since succumbed to illnesses acquired through their rescue and recovery efforts.
“We acknowledge the ongoing trauma experienced by survivors of this attack, with thousands of people irrevocably impacted by these horrific events, which have left a scar not only on the American people but on humanity itself.”
Commissioner Block said 9/11 changed the nature of firefighting on a global scale.
“From the way we advocate for safety in built environments, to training and crewing considerations, September 11 elevated public awareness of the role of firefighters and changed the way governments plan and respond to major emergencies,” Commissioner Block said.
“Today, and every day, first responders stand prepared to face unknown dangers in the service of their communities with skill, compassion, and courage.
We never know what challenges the next incident will bring, but we continue to answer each and every call.”
On a personal note, Commissioner Block said as a firefighter in Canada at the time, seeing footage of his American colleagues going into the collapsing buildings was devastating.
“I pay my respects to their families during this painful anniversary, and to all families who lost loved ones.”