ROCKLAND, Maine — Firefighter Chris Whytock said Tuesday that local firefighters, like everyone else, were transfixed by the events that unfolded on television 11 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks changed the world.
“When the towers fell we knew we had lost a lot of brothers,” said Whytock, who is president of the Rockland Professional Firefighters Association.
On Tuesday, Rockland firefighters unveiled the memorial they created to remember the 343 firefighters from New York City who died when the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. The memorial is two concrete towers that are replicas of the ones at the World Trade Center, one being slightly more than 6 feet tall with the other slightly less than 6 feet tall.
Fire Chief Charles Jordan praised the department’s crews for their volunteer effort to build a monument that was simple but recognizes the sacrifice. He quoted a New York City firefighter supervisor who lost a son in the rescue efforts 11 year ago.
It’s always better to be around people who get things done, Jordan said.
“They got something done,” the chief said, making the quote apply to his own men for their efforts in building the memorial.
Whytock said that since 9/11, improvements have been made in communications and training that the personnel hope they will never have to use.
An honor guard from the Winslow-Holbrook-Merritt post of the American Legion in Rockland fired off a three-volley rifle salute during the 10-minute ceremony in front of the fire station. Chris Blum of Rockland played taps on the bugle.
Blum said he volunteered to perform as part of a nationwide effort called Bugles Across America that focused on having a bugler available at all 9/11 ceremonies.
Whytock also praised The Home Depot for donating most of the materials for the monument.
About 40 people attend the ceremony and gave a round of applause at the end for Rockland’s firefighters.