Salem firefighters honor 9/11 first responders

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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) For the firefighters at Salem Station No. 1, September 11th is a day to honor the sacrifice of others, and remember how it felt to hear the news of the terrorist attack 18 years ago.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," said Firefighter Paramedic James Maish. "I can tell you exactly where I was and everything around me."

"I remember I was sitting in my English class in high school,"said Firefighter EMT Adam Lester, "and we got word the first plane had hit, and we were just kind of in disbelief like everyone else."

Maish and Lester were among a group of about two dozen Salem firefighters who gathered at the 9/11 Memorial Wednesday morning and read the names of the 343 New York City firefighters who died when the twin towers collapsed.

They shared a moment of silence at the memorial, built from two beams that stood in the North Tower of World Trade Center,

"Just don't want to forget the sacrifice that those firefighters made, rushing into the building like that to save those people," Maish said.

"You know I try to put myself in their shoes And I can't fathom what they saw and what they knew they were getting themselves into," Lester added. "And they just went ahead and did it anyway."

The firefighters we spoke with said it's important to keep their memory alive, especially among young people who weren't alive in 2001.

Maish said he lowered a flag at his home Wednesday morning, making sure his children understood the significance of the anniversary.