Firefighters honor fallen comrades at 9/11 ceremony
As a lone bagpipe player performed Amazing Grace, dozens of area firefighters, their families and community members gathered at at Portland Fire Station 21 on Eastbank Esplanade to honor first responders and others killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on its 15th anniversary Sunday.
"For all of us, 9/11 has become our day of infamy, like Pearl Harbor was for our parents and grandparents," Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman said at the ceremony, organized by Portland Fire & Rescue and the Portland Firefighters Association
The event was also used to announce the construction of the David Campbell Memorial at a plaza near the station to honor fallen Portland firefighters. It is named after former Portland Fire Chief David Campbell, who lost his life in the Union Oil Building fire on June 26, 1911, just a few blocks east of the site.
Among the nearly 3,000 people killed at the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, were 343 New York firefighters.
"It is our duty to come together every year to honor those who lost their lives that day," said PFFA Vice President Jason Lehman.
Portland Fire Chief Mike Myers also spoke, saying that the anniversary of 9/11 is a strong reminder that the fire bureau and community must be prepared for such disasters.
"We can't forget, we can't not remember what happened," said Myers, who was appointed by Saltzman in May.
And Terry Shanley, president of the nonprofit David Campbell Memorial Association, announced the start of a fundraising drive to build the memorial. Shanley said the cost of is estimated at $750,000, with past and present Portland firefighters having already donated more than $100,000.
To date, 36 Portland firefighters have died in the line of duty. An additional 37 more have
died of service-connected diseases, like the cancers that firefighters develop at a greatly elevated rate.
The memorial will feature illuminated polls honoring each of the fallen firefighters, with plaques bearing their names. Shanley said the goal is to have it finished in time for the next annual ceremony honoring fallen Portland firefighters in June 2017.
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