Thousands of first responders, active-duty military members and military veterans gathered in downtown Houston on Saturday to pay their respects to those killed 22 years ago during the 9/11 attacks.
A bell-ringing ceremony took place honoring the firefighters who were killed while scaling the buildings to save victims trapped in the Twin Towers. Honor guards from the Department of Public Safety, HFD, and Metro Police played Amazing Grace on bagpipes.
Amy Looney Heffernan, who is the vice president of the Travis Manion Foundation, was the guest speaker. The organization helps veterans transition to civilian life while providing services to family members of fallen servicemen and women.
"I lost my husband, Lieutenant Seal Brendan Looney nine years and 10 days after September 11th of 2001. He was on his 59th and final combat mission in Afghanistan less two weeks away from coming home for good. His helicopter crashed in the middle of the night in the mountains of Zabul province," said Heffernan. "Almost 13 years later I still feel the shock, uncertainty, and grief at times."
Most of those in attendance also took part in the 9/11 Heroes Run. Retired HPD Captain Greg Fremin is the director.
"This is the Pearl Harbor for our generation, and it is important we bring this memory to the next generation, and we keep these names alive. Because if we quit doing this in time it will be forgotten and we can never forget," said Fremin.
Houston has one of the largest 9/11 Heroes Runs in the nation.