Hundreds of paramedics, police and fire crews gathered for a 9-11 memorial ride and ceremony at the Peace Arch border crossing Tuesday.
A quartet of first responders who served in New York on Sept. 11, 2001 – the day a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks in U.S. killed nearly three thousand – joined dozens of fellow Canadian and American counterparts on the large field.
Between large U.S. and Canadian flags, flowing in the wind while held up by ladder trucks from Lower Mainland fire detachments, memorial organizer Guy Morall recounted the horrific day.
“There’s a saying, ‘some gave all and all gave some,’” he said. “And it was in the response of the emergency responders that kept that number to just some.”
From military personnel to coast guard members to citizens that took action in helping that day, Morall said stories of the heroes that day are sometimes forgotten but are important ones to still listen to years later.
For the younger children in attendance Sept. 11 is a day that occurred long before they were born – a day taught to them in school similar to World War 1 and 2.
Home schooled in Blaine, WA, 11-year-old Virtue Neinhaus and her siblings crossed the border with their mom to support first responders.
“I think remembering needs to happen because all these people died and it wasn’t their fault and it was definitely something we need to remember,” Neinhaus told Black Press Media.
Meanwhile, five police officers from New York City sat in the front row, in honour of their 400 colleagues who fell victim to the attack.
Nearly two decades later, first responders in the city are still dealing with the aftermath that’s targeting emergency officials and other witnesses through post-traumatic stress disorder, but also cancer due to breathing in carcinogens.
“The tragedy of 9-11 continues,” Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman said, “and the people who were there for us, we need to be there for them again.”
Ceremonies also took place across the U.S., including in New York City where a moment of silence was observed at Ground Zero.