9/11 was a day we remember vividly.
Where we were when we heard the news.
What we were doing.
Where our families were.
How we sat glued to the TV for hours unable to believe this horror was happening.
It’s a day never to be forgotten.
That day will be remembered this year at the Woodard Dream Cruise when the New York Fire Department’s Rescue 4 truck, which played a huge role in rescue operations, will be on display thanks to the Remembrance Rescue Project.
Host fire departments include Bloomfield Township FD, Troy FD and Royal Oak FD.
On September 11, 2001, eight firefighters on FDNY Rescue 4 lost their lives trying to save others at the World Trade Center. Even with the loss of its crew, the truck was able to go back into service and continued to serve the residents of New York City until 2011, when it became part of the Remembrance Rescue Project. Rescue 4 is currently heading across the country to begin a one-year tour as an educational tool, historical artifact and memorial.
Each fire fighter there that day has a different story. One of them, “I’m not dying here” by now retired firefighter Bill Spade, is on the Rescue 4 website. It will give you goose bumps and bring tears to your eyes. Not only did he almost lose his life, Spade “Uncle” Joe Driscoll was on the flight that went down in Pennsylvania. “Our only shining light is that we all believe he would have fought [the hijackers], and that is what [officials] presume happened,” he says in the story.
Spade was in 1 World Trade Center. Here are a few excerpts from his story.
“There in the lobby things are a bit crazy. The usually calm Fire Department chaplain Rev. (Michael) Judge is looking a bit nervous. I’ve seen him at numerous disasters and firefighters’ funerals and he never gets rattled. I guess it’s because he always has the Lord with him. (Father Judge was among the first people confirmed killed.) ‘Run, don’t walk.’
“We head off to the second floor to direct the people out of the building. As we climb the stairs, I pass a cart of beverages left behind and grab two bottled waters, thinking these may come in handy later. We go to stairway C and begin to direct the people out …
“I am in staircase C leading people out when a loud thunderous noise like numerous trains approaching a subway station occurs. I close the door to the hallway and we are all in the staircase. Outside the noise is deafening. ‘No, this thing can’t be collapsing,’ I think. ‘Will rubble soon be coming down the staircase and trap us there?’ It lasts for what seems like a minute. Complete darkness …
“I look around and see the disaster. How are we going to get out? Will there be another collapse? I say a prayer and say goodbye to my 6-year-old and to my wife and to my 2-month-old, who may never know me.”
Spade does get out of the building but will never be the same. “I am writing this because maybe it will help me sleep and so I won’t have to go over it so many times. But I know I will probably relive this every day of my life,” he says as the end of the story. His story and so many others are part of our history, a history the Remembrance Rescue Project wants to make sure no one forgets.The Project is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit created by firefighters to restore, preserve and share Rescue 4 and Rescue 5 from 9/11 as educational tools, historical artifacts and memorials. The Project involves former FDNY Rescue 4 and Rescue 5 is an educational effort focused especially on youngsters who were too young to actually understand the events of September 11 and what that day means to members of the fire service and the United States.
Detroit is part of the Project’s Coast To Coast Remembrance Tour. Besides the Woodward Dream Cruise, The Remembrance Rescue Project will participate in a variety of events throughout the Detroit area over the 10-day visit. Meritor, Inc. in Troy will assist the Project with mechanical repairs and equipment upgrades to help the rescue truck stay safe and operational during its travels.
The Rescue will leave Detroit on August 17 and head to News, Virginia, where it will continue on tour.
“It is a great honor to be a part of this project and able to help people across the country remember and learn from a true piece of American history.” said Firefighter Ed Howard.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Rescues 1 and 2 lost their rigs at the World Trade Center, and those of Rescues 3 and 5 required major repairs before being placed back into service. Immediately after 9/11, Rescue 4 was the only rescue company covering the City of New York. The Project works with fire departments across the country to host the Rescues throughout the year. The Project coordinates with host fire departments to facilitate 9/11 educational programming, memorials and remembrance events. The Project strives to keep the memories alive of those lost on September 11th and all firefighters killed in the line of duty every year.
The Project is 100% operated by firefighters from across the country volunteering their time. There are no paid members within the Remembrance Rescue Project. Donations are used for fuel, maintenance and travel costs for the Rescues.