Local Firefighters Remember 9/11 - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Local Firefighters Remember 9/11

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By: Claire Powell

The Urbandale Fire Department is home to a special piece of 9/11 history. 

The department placed a bid to receive part of a beam from the World Trade Center that collapsed in New York on September 11, 2001. 

In April 2011, they got their 750 pound beam and now they pass it everyday and remember that tragic day. 

"I listened to the radio on the way back to the fire department and at that time, the second plane had hit the second tower and partially collapsed the first... then we knew it was bad," said Lt. Dan Birkitt, Urbandale Fire Department.

"The thing for me was, things will never be the same. This can't be happening the U.S. We can't have someone hitting our own country. I remember those feelings of how different it was going to be," said Chief Jerry Holt, Urbandale Fire Department. 

When they received the beam in 2011, it was on display inside the fire house for a short time.

"At night you would walk by it, it was sitting in the corner. You would take a look at it and it would kind of give you a shiver up your spine. It felt weird to see it sitting there," said Birkitt.

Finally, it made its' home on the front lawn of the Urbandale fire house and that's where it sits today. It reminds the firefighters of the sacrifices that were made 12 years ago.

"Firefighters talking on the radio, you know that they're talking on the radio now, but in ten minutes they're not talking. They'll never talk again," said Holt. 

"Hard to understand it, to see it on TV isn't the same thing. Even once you see the piece of steel that we have here really brings it to life, makes it real for us," said Birkitt. 

"At the same time, for me, just going out there and looking at it, knowing the sacrifices that people made, not just firefighters, but law enforcement, the civilian population. A lot of people lost their lives because of a terrorist attack and it's just incredible to have a piece of that here... it's surreal," said Holt. 

The Clear Lake Fire Department also has part of a beam from the towers and both are on display and free for the public to visit. 


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