In the chronicles of our nation's history, few events have left as indelible a mark as the harrowing events of September 11, 2001. It was a day that tested our resolve, our unity, and our humanity. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States was thrust into a moment of unparalleled unity—a shared sense of purpose that transcended divisions and differences. It was a time when we stood together as one, resolute in the face of adversity. Yet today, as we peer into the rearview mirror of two decades, we find ourselves confronted with a stark reality: the unity that once defined us has eroded, giving way to divisions that threaten our foundation.
As we approach the 22nd anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) stands together to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. In a solemn and heartfelt ceremony, the FDNY has added 43 new names to its World Trade Center Memorial Wall, paying tribute to the firefighters, paramedics, and civilian support staff who succumbed to illnesses related to their heroic efforts.
These recent additions bring the total number of FDNY members lost to post-9/11 illnesses to 331, nearly matching the number of firefighters who tragically perished in the Twin Towers on that fateful day. In Lower Manhattan, against the backdrop of the city's resilience, these new names were unveiled, marking the second-largest group to be added since the memorial's inception 12 years ago.
Addressing the attendees, New York Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh recognized the enduring impact of 9/11 on the FDNY. She conveyed profound gratitude for the fallen heroes who bravely responded on that harrowing day and continued to work tirelessly in the months and years following the attacks. Their unwavering dedication is etched permanently in our collective memory.
Mayor Eric Adams also spoke during the service, highlighting the unyielding heroism displayed not only by those present in the Twin Towers but also by those who responded afterward. While acknowledging that nothing can truly replace the pain endured by these heroes and their families, he emphasized their extraordinary bravery and selflessness.
The inscription on the memorial wall, established in 2011, serves as a poignant reminder of the department's unshakable commitment to safeguarding life and property. Commissioner Kavanagh stressed that events like this exemplify the FDNY's love, support, and steadfast dedication to upholding the promises made to the fallen heroes and their families.
Throughout the touching ceremony, screens displayed the photographs and names of the FDNY members being honored. The list of those added to the memorial wall encompasses firefighters, EMS captains and lieutenants, and other esteemed members of the FDNY.
In remembrance of their sacrifices, the FDNY pays tribute to heroes such as Firefighter Dennis J. Komar, EMS Capt. Faye Baughman, EMS Lt. Gloria Gordon, Lt. Baudon C. Malmbeck, and many more courageous men and women.
Reflecting on the aftermath of 9/11, Mayor Adams, a retired NYPD captain at the time, emphasized the significance of remembering September 12th. He reminded us that despite being the target of unimaginable hatred, we responded with unwavering bravery, steadfastly refusing to yield to terrorism.
As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, let us never forget the immense sacrifices made by these heroes. They lived and fought with honor, humility, and courage until their last moments. May their memory forever inspire us to stand resilient in adversity. For in the shadow of this tragic anniversary, we must remember that to forget is to risk repeating the past, and united, we stand; divided, we fall.
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