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WE WILL NEVER FORGET September 11, 2001

The attacks on September 11th have been documented as the most destructive acts of terrorism on American soil. On that unforgettable morning, 19 terrorists associated with the extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners en route to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Boston, Newark, and Washington D.C. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center, a third plane hit the Pentagon, and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania – this series of events changed our lives forever.

It was a Tuesday morning at 8:45 when the first plane loaded with 20,000 gallons of fuel struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. The impact left a large burning hole in an upper floor of the tower, which instantly killed hundreds of people and trapped hundreds more on the upper floors. As the event unfolded, the media began televising live images of this dreadful event for the rest of the world to see. Then, just a few minutes after the first plane struck the north tower, a second plane sliced into the south tower near the 60th floor. The impact created a tremendous explosion that showered glass and burning debris throughout the surrounding area. It was at that moment that Americans confirmed this was no accident and we were under attack.

The FDNY deployed 200 fire companies to the site of the World Trade Center. Many other off-duty firefighters responded on their own, knowing that the incident needs would quickly overwhelm on-duty resources. For many of these individuals, this would be their last emergency response. The efforts of these brave men and women should never be forgotten.

A total of 2,996 deaths occurred during the 9/11 attacks. Of those 2,996 deaths, 411 emergency workers who responded to the event died as they attempted to rescue the victims. FDNY lost 343 firefighters, the New York Police Department lost 37 officers and private EMS providers lost eight (8) responders.

Although ten years have passed since that fateful day, it is more important than ever that we all remain ever vigilant not only to the possibility of terrorist activity, but any major emergency event that would tax first responder resources and endanger large numbers of our citizens' lives. Earthquakes, conflagrations, floods, and terrorism…are all challenges for Bakersfield Firefighters, Police Officers, Emergency Medical Services, urban Bakersfield, and the U.S.

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