Fort Riley Remembers 9/11, Fallen Soldiers

By: WIBW (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: WIBW (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
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Retired NYC Firefighter Shares 9/11 Experience

FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) - A retired New York City firefighter says Sept. 11, 2011 was both the longest and shortest day of his life and, even though he remembers everything about it, sometimes seemed like it never happened.

Scott Schrimpe was in Kansas Wednesday for 9/11 commemorations at Fort Riley. He was traveling with two, 12,000 lb. pieces of debris from the World Trade Center, one of which will be part of the American Fallen Warrior Memorial in Kansas City. The tour will raise money for the project.

Schrimpe says he was on his way home his shift in the South Bronx when the first plane hit. He was called back into work, wearing shorts and sneakers, and was on his way to get safety gear from a trailer at the scene, which was parked underneath the north tower. Schrimpe says he was about 100 feet away when the tower fell. He dove under a car to protect himself. He says he dug himself out from the rubble about 20 minutes later and "went back to work."

Schrimpe says six members of his squad went missing when the south tower collapsed. The bodies of three of them weren't found until March 2002.

He says the most difficult part about working at the scene was being unable to see. He says what most people believed to be smoke rising from the pile was actually dust from everything in the buildings being pulverized. Despite the buildings having some 43,000 windows, he says, workers didn't find any glass in the debris.

Schrimpe says he is proud to be touring with the pieces of debris and wants people to get up close and personal with them.

"We want people to touch, feel and heal," he said.

The debris pieces were scheduled to be at Heritage Park in Junction City until 7 pm Wednesday, Sept. 11.


FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) - Fort Riley paused Wednesday to honor those who answered the call to serve in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

A gun salute punctuated the post's commemoration at the Global War on Terrorism monument. It bears the names of Fort Riley soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among them is staff sergeant Ryan Zorn, who was killed in Iraq in November 2009. His parents, JoAnn and Myron attended the ceremony.

JoAnn said, when Ryan died, "it was like the foundation of our life cracked." She said they continue to heal and praised the Army for its support of their family.

Myron says Ryan was on his third tour in Iraq when he was killed, and would reassure his parents that the soldiers were having an impact.

"He was proud of what he did and he did make a difference," Myron said. "He was a better man than I am. He changed the world."

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