They gathered at the Independent Hose Co. in Frederick for a ceremony.
With the Montgomery County Fire Fighters Fife and Drum Band playing "Amazing Grace," Angela Spencer singing "The Star Spangled Banner" and Theresa Jacobs singing "God Bless America," Frederick County residents took time on Tuesday to remember the nearly 3,000 Americans who perished during the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.
A large number of people gathered at the Independent Hose Company in Frederick for a ceremony. In past years, the 9/11 remembrances were held at Winchester Hall. But the Commissioners decided to hold them at the county's fire halls to showcase their personnel, equipment and services they provide to their communities.
Some comments came from two fire fighters who were at the Pentagon, after the plane crashed into the building. Independent Hose President Marty Fuller says he was getting off the overnight shift with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue when he was called back in to help put out the fire at the Pentagon, following the plane crash. "After all was said and done, I was very fortunate. I was able to go home to my family the next day," he says. "Hundreds of fire fighters and law enforcement officers were not as fortunate as me. They never came home that day. They'll always be forever in our thoughts and prayers."
Tom Owens currently serves the Director of the County's Division of Fire and Rescue Services. But on September 11th, 2001, he was the Assistant Chief of Operations with the Fairfax City, Virginia, Fire Department. On that morning, he heard a thump, which was the plane crashing into the Pentagon, 12 miles away. He says he and a lot of fire fighters for miles around were dispatched to the Pentagon.
Owens says fire and rescue personnel had to deal with a fire on a built up roof in the Pentagon's E, C and D wings. There was no apparatus small enough to get into the building's many tunnels. However, a 1955 Mack Ladder Truck owned by the Woodsboro Fire Company in Frederick County was the just the right size. It was dispatched to the scene, with Chief Mickey Fyock and several of his fire fighters. Owens says they were able to get inside and spent 12 hours bringing the fire under control. "I had a chance to speak with them before they left. I was not only impressed by their good work, but as I talked with Chief Fyock and his crew before they took up and headed home, it was very clear to see the pride that the Woodsboro volunteers had," Owens says.
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said that since 9/11, homeland security has become a part of law enforcement and public safety. "We all have to understand that America is in a long term war of survival," he says. "Even though we are drawing down and withdrawing our military from our current conflict, this fight, I'm afraid, is going to last for generations."
He also described the threat as a "radical ideology with a single goal of achieving Muslim domination." "That same ideology is quietly entrenching itself in America and we're doing very little to stop it," he said. "We have to convince our elected leaders at all levels of government to recognize and stop this threat to national security."
Behind the speakers podium at the Independent Hose Company Fire Hall was hung three sets of fire fighter helmets and turnout gear. A fourth pole was left empty, as master of ceremonies Chip Jewel explained, to remember the fire fighters who died in the line of duty and didn't return to the station after answering a call.