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Shawnee Heights first responders and community members remember 9/11 victims

Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 4:16 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - First responders and community members gathered at Shawnee Heights Fire District Station 23 Saturday to remember the lives lost in the terrorist attacks 20 years ago.

“As a firefighter, you knew you were losing some of your own, not your own department but it doesn’t matter; you wear that helmet you wear that badge and to lose one of your own anywhere across this country, it pulls at you,” said firefighter Richard Watson.

“They stepped up to do what they do and knowing that was a risk they were taking was to give their life for a fellow man and it happened.”

One family brought their young children to teach them about the events and their consequences.

“They understand the sacrifice of the lives that were lost all the firefighters, the first responders that went in, how noble it was not knowing what was going to happen,” said Chelsea Lynn.

“It’s part of our history, it’s a bad party of our history, something to learn from something to move forward on,” shared her husband, Adam.

“Hopefully, it never repeats again because I don’t want our kids to ever see anything like that again.”

Charles Smrha remembered the events as if it happened Saturday.

“I was thinking that day when the first report came in that it was an accident I mean, who could do such a thing it was impossible,” he recalled.

“When I drove into work and heard the second plane go in the tower, it became pretty obvious it was a planned attack and I just didn’t know what to think it’s impossible to conceive.”

People hope what lives on is how the events showed the power of humanity.

“I’m still very sorry, it’s a very solemn event and I hope people remember and I hope events like this help people to remember what happened and never forget,” Smrha said.

“Those were very heroic things the fire department and first responders did to try and save people.”

“Twenty years ago was the major time when you saw the whole country come together,” Chelsea Lynn said.

“Now, with how divided the country is over everything it’s something to remember that everyone put their differences aside and the whole country came together.”

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