The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

UP residents pause to remember lives lost on Sept. 11

University Park residents gathered for a small ceremony in front of the University Park Fire Department Friday morning to honor those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Held for the third year in a row, the commemoration opened with a flag ceremony performed by the fire department’s Honor Guard as well as a featured performance by the Color Guard.

UP Fire Chief Randy Howell, who began the annual tradition when he came to the UP Fire Department in 2008, spoke at the event along with Texas House Rep. Dan Branch and Rev. Nelson Bell.

“[The ceremony] is an effort to remember not just the fallen firefighters and police officers and medical workers who died that day, but also everyone who lost their life,” Howell said.

Bell praised the actions of those who first arrived at the scene of the attacks. He believes that God was never far from those who suffered that day.

“[The victims] saw God in the eyes of the first responders,” he said. “They are our heroes.”

Branch recalled his Sept. 11 memories, too.

“I thought, ‘You know our country really has changed,'” he said. “I wandered for the first time if I was going to be sending my son off to war.”

Honor Guard Commander and Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Watkins took part in the flag ceremony.

A college student at the time of the attacks, Watkins understands and respects just how dangerous the nature of their job really is.

“We’re always running in while everyone [else is] running out. And those guys in the twin towers, the last thing that ever crossed their minds was that those towers were coming down,” Watkins said. “You’re doing your job. That’s when people call us. When they’re in their worst need.”

In honor of the 343 firefighters who died in the attacks, Watkins said that firefighters across the nation began a special tradition in their memory.

“The slogan around the firefighter world is ‘3-4-3 never forgettin.’ It’s put on our engine, it’s talked about all the time,” he said. “We weren’t there but the brotherhood of the firefighters goes way deep.”

UP resident Laura Walsh lived in New York for several years and had her friend, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, perish in the United Airlines Flight 93 crash. The plane was brought down in Pennsylvania after several passengers tried to regain control of the plane from terrorists.

“I think being able to mark [the anniversary] here is really meaningful,” she said. “She was really great. She shared her telephone with many people who didn’t have one on that flight. It is meaningful to me to be out here and remember Lauren.”

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