COLUMBUS, Ohio –
September 11, 2001- It is one of the darkest days in U.S. history; a day that claimed nearly 3,000 innocent lives during the deadliest attacks on American soil.
Now, twenty-two years later, Americans continue to uphold a promise to never forget by volunteering, participating in fundraisers, or gathering for moments of silence and various other tributes.
Firefighters with Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management – Columbus Fire and Emergency Services held a Patriot Day tribute of their own September 11, with a flag raising and stair climb at Defense Supply Center Columbus.
At 8:46 a.m., the time the north tower of the World Trade Center was struck, the firefighters raised the American flag from a ladder truck, extended over Roosevelt Avenue in front of the fire station. The flag, along with a set of bunker gear, the personal protective equipment used by firefighters, remained on display until 10:28 a.m., the time the north tower collapsed.
Several firefighters also made their way to the base gym, each completing 343 steps on a step machine in honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives that fateful day.
DLA Installation Management – Columbus Fire and Emergency Services Chief Randy Shirey expressed the importance for his team to preserve the history of 9/11 and what it means for each of them.
“The ultimate sacrifice made by 343 firefighters on September 11 is a stark reminder of the unwavering courage and dedication to protecting and serving our communities, a defining trait of our profession,” he said. “We must never forget their bravery; our continued support and remembrance honor their legacy.”
While memories of 9/11 are firmly embedded in the minds of most Americans old enough to recall the attacks, for younger generations, the experience of 9/11 is not a memory lived, but history learned.
DLA Installation Management - Columbus Fire and Emergency Services Firefighter/Paramedic Dylan Natko was just nine years old during the attacks and admits he didn’t quite understand what was happening then.
“I remember seeing coverage on TV and my parents trying to explain,” he said. “I just remember thinking ‘we’re going to war,’ but I didn’t quite know what that meant.”
Natko said as he continued to hear stories and gain a better understanding of what happened, 9/11 became a driving force for him to join the Marine Corps.
“I just knew I wanted to do my part,” he said.
After completing a four-year enlistment in the Marines in 2015 and attending paramedic school, Natko began his career as a civilian firefighter. He joined DLA Installation Management - Columbus Fire and Emergency Services in July following several years at Kirtland Air Force Base.
Natko said even after 22 years, for him, September 11 still brings somber emotions.
“Most fire departments announce over the PA system or over the radio when the towers were struck. And every year, it’s still an eerie feeling,” he said, “but also a reminder of why I do what I do.”
DLA Installation Management – Columbus Fire and Emergency Services is charged with providing emergency support 24-hours a day, seven days a week 365 days a year.