BY HAILEY MINTON
The North View Fire Department reflects on the terrorist attack on September 11th and how we have changed since then.
Deputy Chief Jeramiah Jones was on a church mission in Madrid Spain when one of his friends called and told him what happened. They rushed to find a TV. “We saw the images, and it was pretty harrowing. There was fear of the unknown, a feeling of not being safe, and a fear of going to war because of how many lives were lost that day.” He returned home shortly thereafter and described the country as totally united. “We’ve forgotten how we banded together. It was fresh on our minds, and everyone wanted to help and was empathetic. That seems to have faded through the years.”
When he returned from his mission and was ready to start his career as a firefighter, there was an overwhelming sense of volunteerism. He said that the career path was very competitive, and the events on that day created that. “It instilled patriotism in a lot of our citizens… Those who are drawn to this career jump in and take control of situations.” When it comes to fight or flight, firefighters have fight in them. The events of that day reinforce the idea that they never know what type of call is going to come in, and they need to stay sharp. Jeremiah said helping people and being with them when they’re having an emergency is rewarding, because he gets to see that what they do make a difference.
However, sometimes they see people die, and they have to deal with the emotions and grief that come with that. “Sometimes, we do everything we can, and it doesn’t work out… In the last 10-12 years, we’ve seen a shift in the fire service.” He explained the mentality among firefighters used to be ‘if you’re not tough enough to handle it, you need to get out.’ “We’ve learned the hard way from 9/11. We didn’t know how to help people get through the trauma of situations like that.” Now they have resources to help firefighters process what they experience in a healthy way instead of suffering or turning to substance abuse.
Here are some memories a few North View Firefighters had of 9/11:
Sam Barrett was in 7th grade at North Ogden Jr High, and his ex-air force shop teacher had the news on tv. “We watched the plane hit the second tower, and I think we were still in class when the first tower fell. With the teacher’s background, he was saying we were going to war because of this. I thought about that all day.”
Anthony Swenson was a junior in high school at North Ridge High, right outside HAFB. People were crying in the halls, and, initially, he thought there was just a higher level of normal high school drama that day. He and his friends didn’t know what was going on. Someone eventually told him what happened, and they watched the second plane crash into the second building. That made him realize it was more than just a plane crash. “We couldn’t get to school for the next couple days because they locked down HAFB, and we couldn’t get around the base because of traffic. A couple of my friends had trouble getting home onto base because it was completely locked down. Some of them had no idea where their parents were. It was a weird couple of weeks.”
Brian Griffin said there were a lot of things that changed in the fire service because of what happened that day. In New York, they set up command in the foyer of the building that ended up collapsing. There is a national standard of command, and it affected everybody. “This was a situation our country had never encountered before, so there were certainly things to learn from for approaching future situations differently.”
What happened that day rocked America and seemed to evoke empathy in us as a nation. 9/11 Day is an organization that was formed after the attack, and they turned the anniversary into a national day of service. Cindy McGinty lost her husband in the attack and said, “We can’t bring our loved ones back. But perhaps in tribute, we can work to rekindle the spirit of unity that arose in the aftermath of the attacks.” If you want to take action, visit serve911.org for details about participating in a local food drive, blood drive, 5k or 2k race fundraiser, or a service project.
You can also attend Weber Remembers 9/11 Project at the Weber County Fairgrounds. All the events are free. The exhibit is an interactive museum experience, which uses photo boards that were created to help visitors walk back in time. The time frame covers the late 1990s through the day of the terrorist attack and then into the response recovery time period. The North parking lot will have an exhibit of emergency and military vehicles, where you can take pictures and talk with the professionals. There will also be live local entertainers. They need 400 volunteers over the course of the three days, so if you’re interested in helping, visit majorbrenttaylor.com
Sept. 9th & 10th
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: 9/11 Exhibit Field Trips @ Weber County Fair Grounds
4 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Fairgrounds Exhibit Free & Open to the Public @ Weber County Fairgrounds. This includes the 9/11 Project Immersive Museum, community service exhibitors, “Touch a Truck” parking lot exhibit, and live entertainment.
6:46 a.m.: Early Morning Fire Memorials
@ Roy Fire Station No. 31
@ Riverdale Fire Station No. 41
@ Weber Fire Station No. 61 in Farr West
10 a.m.: Fairgrounds Exhibit Free & Open to the Public @ Weber County Fairgrounds. This includes the 9/11 Project Immersive Museum, community service exhibitors, “Touch a Truck” parking lot exhibit, and live entertainment.
Fire Ride Motorcycle Ride @ Salt Lake City to the Ogden Amphitheater fallenfirefightermemorial.org
12 p.m.: Firefighter Memorial Ceremony @ America’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial Park Next to the Ogden Amphitheater
8 p.m.: Fairground Exhibit Closes