By IRENE NOLAN
exactly 8:46 yesterday morning, 30 firefighters and several other first
responders started their second annual Memorial Stair Climb of the Cape
Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton.
The start time, of course, was
the hour on Sept. 11, 2001, that American Airlines Flight 11 plowed
into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The local first responders were still climbing the 257 stairs to the
top of the lighthouse at 9:03, the time that United Airlines Flight 175
hit the South Tower.
In all, 2997 people died that day in New
York and Washington, D.C., and near Shanksville, Pa. More than
400 first responders died at the Twin Towers, including 343
firefighters, 23 members of the New York City police force, and 37 from
the Port Authority Police.
The victims were remembered yesterday morning on Hatteras Island and across the county.
haven't forgotten" is a motto that the fire services take very much to
heart, says Jeffrey Del Monte, deputy chief of the Buxton Volunteer
Fire Department and organizer of the event.
department hosted the first Memorial Stair Climb last year, and Del
Monte says the members plan to make it an annual event.
were 28 firefighters who climbed to the top of the tower this year --
10 more than last year. They wore their standard attire -- coat, pants,
boots, and hat -- on the warm late summer morning, and most of them
carried about 50 pounds of gear on their journey.
firefighters this year came from the Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras, Avon,
Chicamacomico Banks, and Kill Devil Hills departments. They were joined
by a deputy from the Dare County Sheriff's Office and a National Park
Service law enforcement ranger.
Five more firefighters offered
support from the ground, and two members from Dare County Emergency
Medical Services were on standby with an ambulance.
memorial, about two dozen folks watched and took photos -- family and
friends of the first responders and visitors to the lighthouse.
they descended, the climbers removed their attire and gear and gathered
at the base of the tower for a few moments of reflection.
"It's more for reflection and remembrance than for pomp and circumstance," Del Monte said about the low-key event.
the morning memorial, the members of Cape Hatteras Baptist Church in
Frisco hosted all island first responders for a luncheon --
firefighters, police agencies, EMS and rescue squad, and linemen for
the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative who are our first responders in
Food for the luncheon was donated by island restaurants
and included a buffet of such goodies as pizza, subs, chili, shrimp,
chicken, and many desserts.
"There was no shortage of food," noted one guest.
restaurants were Burger Burger, Burrus Red & White Supermarket,
Buxton Munch Company, Conner's Supermarket, Dinky's Waterfront
Restaurant, Frisco Sandwich Company, Gidget's Pizza & Pasta,
Gingerbread House, Harbor Deli, Hatteras Sol Deli & Cafe, Papa
Nino's Pizza, Rusty's Restaurant, and Sonny's Restaurant.
finally, we'll include a reminder that all of the fire departments on
Hatteras are strictly volunteer organizations. They are also
always seeking new members. Think about stopping by the firehouse and
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