Local fire dept. walks two miles in full gear to honor September 11th victims

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – For many first responders, the September 11th anniversary is especially hard. For the Bunyan Volunteer Fire Department, they decided to spend the day together.

More than a dozen firefighters dressed in full gear and completed a two mile walk along Highway 264 in Washington. The two mile distance representing the distance New York City firefighters had to climb in the World Trade Center Towers.

“We just want to keep their memory alive and let their families know we support them. My hope is that somebody in New York will see this,” said Darren Harris, the organizer of the walk.

Harris said when the attacks happened 15 years ago, he never anticipated being a firefighter himself. He said the walk is a small gesture of gratitude to the men and women who responded to the terrorist attack, but never made it out alive.

He said they will continue to honor the fallen and support their families.

“We’re going to continue to support you, for the next however many years,” Harris said. “We’re not going to forget your family member’s sacrifice.”

But the walk didn’t go unnoticed in Beaufort County. People lined up along the highway to take pictures and cheer the firefighters on. Despite the heat and humidity, they continued their trek in 60 pounds of gear.

For Renee Blackburn, having her daughters watch the walk was a way to teach them about the attacks.

“I told the girls to hurry up, get dressed, lets go check it out. I was trying to explain to them what 9/11 was,” Blackburn said.

Others watching the walk had a closer tie. Tina Jordan watched her son, a firefighter with Bunyan, complete the walk. She also was joined by her young daughters.

“I think it’s important, especially for my girls, to realize how special today is and how many lives were lost,” Jordan said.

Harris hopes to make this an annual tradition, and get more firefighters involved next year.

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