AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As memorials and tributes across the nation honor those who lost their lives 20 years ago in New York, back here at home local first responders and residents of Amarillo came out to pay their respects.
“20 years ago on September 11th, I had just finished a run around Central Fire Station. I walked into the building and I saw several of my more senior members gathered around the TV and it was just that sinking feeling that the world that I had known, and thinking back to my seven-day-old son at home and thinking how the world and our lives were going to change for us and for my children,” said Amarillo Fire Department Chief Jason Mays.
Multiple agencies gather at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial Saturday to honor the men and women who tragically lost their lives 20 years ago on September 11th, 2001.
The event started with an address from Sheriff Christopher Forbis, followed by the National Anthem, a flyover by Lifestar, ringing the four fives, the playing of Taps, and ending with prayer.
Saturday’s event started at 8:46 AM, the exact time the first plane flew into the North Trade Center Tower 20 years ago.
Chief Martin Birkenfeld with the Amarillo Police Department remembers where he was 20 years ago.
“When this started I was fixing to get off shift. I was working the midnight shift at that time and I was fixing to walk out the door at that time and I noticed a group of officers had the TV on in our muster room and we were watching the events and I remember that vividly, even 20 years later,” said Chief Birkenfeld.
He added he can’t thank enough for the support the community has shown first responders in the past 20 years and beyond.
“I would say thank you so much for remembering the first responders and the people who have lost their lives 20 years ago today and thank you for the support you give to our first responders in our community. We fill it every day and we see out here today and we appreciate that,” said Chief Birkenfeld.
Chief Mays said there is a special bond between first responders no matter the location.
“For anybody that shows up and anybody that has shared this uniform or the uniform of those that are overseas trying to protect and maintain our freedom, it’s just a heartfelt honor. There are certain things like service that bond us all together, even if there are different ways we provide that service for our community, so it’s just that unspoken bond,” said Chief Mays.