BELTON, S.C. (WSPA) – With 343 photos hanging around their necks and a ring of a somber bell, firefighters and their families remembered the New York firefighters killed on an unforgettable day 15 years ago.
Each of them gave their lives running into the horror of 9/11 to save as many lives as they could.
“Every photo has a name. It has a story. And that story is so important,” said Lt. Luke Riddle, Belton Fire Department. “It is not just a walk down the road to remember 9/11. They walked in honor of that firefighter and in memorial of that firefighter that gave up his life in 2001.”
Before each and every name was recognized at the Belton Fire department, they were carried 2.5 miles, written on a fire hose and hanging on the backs of upstate firefighters.
It was a quiet, community walk to remember where we all were this day 15 years ago.
“Everything just collapsed. We just didn’t have any answers for it,” remembered Libby Maness, a mother and grandmother of local firefighters. “I am proud of all of these firefighters. We are all family.”
“It changed the history of our country without a shadow of a doubt and it changed the lives of many others,” Micah Traynham said.
“I was actually in college studying to be a preacher and after 9/11 it totally changed my life and my career path,” Lt. Riddle added. “I became a firefighter after that.”
It was also to recognize the men and women first responders and military risking everything to help every day and to remind us how far we’ve come as a nation.
“I actually had a traumatic brain injury and EMS helped me out, so I wanted to give back to those people,” Traynham explained.
This is the second year Belton fire department has held the 9/11 memorial walk to remember. This year attendance was tripled with more than 400 people that showed up to join them.