Dayton firefighter recruits honor 9/11 first responder sacrifices

Hundreds of photos of firefighters who died saving other people’s lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks 20 years ago were lined outside at the Dayton Fire Department Training Center on Friday morning as recruits honored the sacrifice and were reminded of the duties that come with being a first responder.

Members of the firefighting recruit class 2021-A also placed American flags and firefighting gear with the photos. Fire chief Jeff Lykins said it’s important for everyone -- especially safety force personnel -- to take time and remember the 343 firefighters who died from the terror attacks.

“On 9/11, America watched the most tragic of events unfold before their eyes with tons of emotions, and one of the things that I think started the healing process and gave people some strength was the dedication and commitment of the safety forces personnel, the firefighters and police officers that gave their lives that day. It underscored the resilience of America,” Lykins said.

“You honor those men and women. Their sacrifices are sewn into the fabric of the uniforms (current firefighters) wear today,” Lykins told the Dayton Daily News. “That sacrifice underscores the bravery and commitment that firefighters are willing to do every single day in every town across America.”

Instructors spoke about the bravery firefighters showed on Sept. 11 and how they were willing to give everything to help people. They said it was that mindset the recruits needed to have too so they can protect the residents of Dayton, noting that local firefighters have also died in the line of duty.

“No one goes to work hoping or thinking they are going to die that day in the performance of their duties, but unfortunately the reality for safety force personnel is that it does occur at an alarming rate. So I think, today, taking the time to honor the 343 firefighters that gave their lives that day and really celebrate the tradition of the American firefighter, I think that’s the message,” Lykins said. “We are a resilient nation, and we can heal together, but we will never forget the sacrifice they made that day.”

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