Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-335-LARA (5272)
September 11, 2019 - On this 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that changed America forever, LARA, the state fire marshal and the Bureau of Fire Services today remembers the first responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice by putting their lives on the line to save others that fateful day.
“We owe these heroes a debt of everlasting gratitude that we will never be able to repay,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “We remember them and what they stood for – their selflessness toward saving lives and their devotion to duty that sustains us as Americans and bears testimony to their enduring legacy.”
State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer, the director of LARA’s Bureau of Fire Services that provides training and other services to the state’s 29,500+ firefighters, said he’s honored and humbled to pay tribute each year to first responders who perished on 9/11, as he attends scheduled memorial events around Michigan today.
“These heroes answered the call of duty with courage, bringing honor on themselves, their families and their profession as firefighters,” said Sehlmeyer. “Those of us in the fire service come together to honor our fallen comrades, pay tribute to them for their sacrifice and to never forget. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another.”
Sehlmeyer recounts that among the 2,753 people who died when terrorists brought down the World Trade Center’s twin towers, 412 emergency workers perished, including the 343 firefighters of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). Since 9/11, more than 150 firefighters have reportedly died of their 9/11 injuries, with more expected in the coming years. Thousands more FDNY firefighters and EMTs have been, and will continue to be, treated for a 9/11 injuries and illnesses. In addition, some 2,000 fire and emergency personnel responded and survived the attack at the Pentagon and the downed plane in Shanksville, PA.
Hawks emphasized that on this day, we can best honor these brave protectors -- who, by choice, ran in, when most would run out -- by renewing a shared commitment of service to others and by working in our communities to strengthen the ideals of our American democracy.