September 12, 2013
Hatteras firefighters climb the lighthouse to remember
Sept. 11 first responders….WITH SLIDE SHOW
By IRENE NOLAN
9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Sept. 11, 18 Hatteras Island firefighters
began climbing the 257 steps to the balcony of the Cape Hatteras
Lighthouse to honor the memory of the 343 of their brethren who died in
the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center.
firefighters made the first Sept. 11 Memorial Stair Climb of the Cape
Hatteras Lighthouse wearing their full gear, just as the first
responders did on that day 12 years ago, and 15 of them carried heavy
breathing equipment on their backs.
At 9 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001,
New York firefighters and paramedics were already making their way up
the stairs of the Trade Center to the fires on the top floors – much,
much higher than the lighthouse. The first plane, American
Airlines Flight 11, hit the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. The second
plane, United Airlines Flight 175, hit the South Tower at 9:03.
Delmonte, deputy chief of the Buxton Volunteer Fire Department,
organized the climb to remember the victims of the attack and remember
the events of the day. He said that after 12 years, the
anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American is getting less
and less attention.
Yet, he said, the events of the days remain “meaningful” and “relevant” and should not be forgotten.
climbers, he said, included members of the Buxton, Avon, Chicamacomico
Banks, Frisco, and Hatteras volunteer fire departments.
were 21 firefighters who came to the lighthouse with the group, though
only the 18 climbed. A crew from Dare County Emergency Medical
Services stood by during the event.
The trip to the top and back
down took only 30 minutes, Delmonte said. At the top, the group
paused to let the climbers catch their breath and to reflect on the
fate of many of the Sept. 11 first responders.
The last man out of the lighthouse after the climb, he said, was Buxton fire chief Bryan Perry.
descending, the firefighters removed their equipment and reassembled at
the base of the lighthouse at 10 a.m., which is approximately the time
that the South Tower of the Trade Center collapsed.
The group observed a moment of silence and several members talked about their memories of the day of the attacks.
the ceremony, many of the first responders were treated to lunch at the
Cape Hatteras Baptist Church and dined on food donated by local
Delmonte says he hopes the Sept. 11 Memorial Stair
Climb of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will become an annual event that
will be watched next year by a much larger group of spectators.
Buxton deputy chief reminds islanders that all fire
departments and rescue squads on Hatteras are 100 percent volunteer and
always need more volunteers. If you are interested, drop by the fire
house in your community. Perhaps you will be part of the second annual
Memorial Stair Climb at the lighthouse.
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