Houston Firefighters Head To NY For 9/11 Anniversary

As the nation gets set to remember the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a group of Houston firefighters are preparing to join their comrades in New York to mark the historic occasion.

It started with a idea in the mind of Honor Guard member Warren Hooker. After lots of planning and raising money, he and 16 other member of the Houston Fire Department’s Honor Guard and heading to New York City for the 9/11 anniversary.

“Why we’re going, is to take this opportunity to share with the fire department of New York as they reflect back on that moment the horrible day of 9/11. And the let fire department of New York and the people of New York know that Houston cares. The Houston Fire Department cares. The state of Texas cares.”

Firefighter Laura Saavedra is making the trip to New York. For her it brings back memories of that tragic day ten years ago. She happened to be on vacation at the time.

“Not being here was something, because yes, I was with family, but this is also something true to my heart — firefighting and not being here to be able to say, ‘Where can I help? What can I do?’ That was touching. So being where I was in Florida, I actually went to the fire station and started talking to some of the guys.”

Firefighters Gretchen Wolf and James Wathen are expecting the trip to be an emotional one. Both neither is sure how they’ll handle it.

“It’s going to be very emotional. I can’t say how I’m going to handle it. I’m just going to take one day at a time and be there to experience a part of history.  And hopefully come back with some stories that I can pass on to my fellow firefighters that were not able to make the trip.”

“How will we handle it? We just take one day at a time. For it truly is an honor that we honor those who have gone before us, cause we truly never forget. That’s how we stay alive.”

The Houston firefighters will join their fellow brothers in a ceremony on the tenth honoring just the firefighters who lost their lives. They’ll stand side by side forming a wall as family members enter the church. On the 11th they’ll take part in a ceremony honoring all of the victims of that day.

This is Honor Guard Chief Josef Gregory.

“Everybody in the country had some emotions that day, but to actually get there and see people who experienced the event who actually were there and hear first hand stories will give us a better picture of how things were that day.”

The Houston contingent plans to be in New York for seven days. It’s a trip all of them believe they’ll never forget.


Images are from the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.