Firefighters at MacDill AFB honor first responders who fell down stairs on 9/11

TAMPA, Fla. — Sunday marks more than 20 years since the September 11th attacks. Nearly 3,000 people died that day, including first responders who rushed to help when the tower collapsed.

On Friday, firefighters at McDill Air Force Base gathered to honor the first responders who lost their lives.

“It’s been about two and a half years since I’ve been around,” Nathan Bear said.

Most people know where they were on 9/11, but 18-year-old MacDill Firefighter Baer remembers the legacy he left behind instead.

“You feel the weight of the moment,” Bear said. “I may not have been there when it happened, but its legacy has had a lasting impact on my life.”

Firefighters at McDill Air Force Base held a short and solemn ceremony Friday morning to honor the lives of the 343 FDNY members who died on 9/11, a sacrifice that put duty before themselves 21 years ago. I stopped to pay my respects.

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“They were just doing their job,” said Base Fire Chief Harley McCarter of McDill Air Force Base. “They went there. They thought they were reacting to some kind of structural fire, and then the whole world changed in an instant.”

After the ceremony, the firefighters donned several pounds of gear and climbed and descended 110 steps, about 37 in total.


“Just thinking about the firefighters with all their packs and all their gear. I knew it wouldn’t,” said Jalen McCorvey, a McDill firefighter.

Whether they remember where they were or only know them through history, these firefighters are reminding people that the heroes lost that day cannot be forgotten.

“Every time we went in, they made a choice. They knew they might not come see their wives, their husbands, their children, their families,” Bear said. We all knew this might be the last time, but we did it anyway, and I don’t want people to forget that.”


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