NFCC Chair pays tribute to all who lost their lives in the 9-11 attacks

It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the devastating terror attacks which targeted iconic sites across America, including the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia, leading to almost 3,000 people tragically losing their lives.

Among those who died were 412 people from the emergency services. This included 343 firefighters, the biggest loss of life at one incident. Many others have subsequently lost their lives or suffered ill health because of the work they carried out in the aftermath of the attacks.

Today at 1346, Fire and Rescue Services across the UK will be holding a silence to commemorate all those who lost their lives. This will coincide with the first aeroplane hitting the north tower. Similar silences will be held across the world, with the USA holding a number of poignant memorials to mark the fallen.

Today I pay tribute to everyone who lost their lives or were injured in these horrific attacks, and of course, all the emergency and first responders.

NFCC Chair, Mark Hardingham

September 11th started out as a perfectly ordinary day, but by early morning in America the landscape of New York had changed forever. Indeed, the landscape of the world had changed forever, the consequences of which we continue to experience.

Almost everyone will remember where they were when the news broke that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers – it was early afternoon in the UK. Only 18 minutes after the north tower was struck, the true horror unfolded when a second plane hit the south tower in one of the worst terror attacks the world had ever seen.

Twenty years on, I pay tribute to everyone who lost their lives or were injured in these horrific attacks, along with their families and loved ones who continue to suffer the consequences – this includes those who were working in the buildings, those on the aeroplanes - and of course, all those emergency and first responders.

I will be taking time today to remember all who suffered during and after this tragic event. It is difficult to imagine what the firefighters faced when they attended the twin towers; what is clear is that without doubt their primary thought was to do whatever they could to save lives, get people out and to keep people safe. This is always the mindset of firefighters and other emergency responders across the world.

Some years after the attacks I visited New York’s Ground Zero which was a moving and harrowing experience. To stand on the ground where the Twin Towers once stood, where people lost their lives, and sharing the same space as all those brave responders who fought to bravely trying to help others was utterly humbling.

Yet out of the darkness of the attacks came stories of heroism and bravery leading to many more lives being saved. This included members of the public going back into the towers to help firefighters; responders desperately searching through rubble when the buildings were likely to suffer further collapse; a tour guide at the Pentagon giving first aid but going back in to help rescue more people, and war veterans and retired firefighters offering their services without a thought for their own safety.

I hope you will join me in today’s silence when we remember those who lost their lives as well as those whose bravery and selflessness saved many others.

Back to news