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9/11 ceremony: ‘Remember the total disbelief’

Updated: September 11, 2013 3:00PM



The oldest Americans born after the Sept. 11 attacks are turning 12.

It is hard to believe that a dozen years have passed, Chicago firefighters and brass said at a ceremony Wednesday to remember those who died.

And worrisome.

“Many do not have the memory of that day,” said Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago, joining Engine Company 98 downtown. “They never saw the Twin Towers, except in pictures, never felt the emotions that we will never forget as we watched a second plane hit the towers and minutes later collapse.”

The early morning ceremony — at 7:46 a.m. Chicago time, the same time the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001 — was one of many around the Chicago area marking the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93, brought down in Pennsylvania as passengers tried to subdue hijackers. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks.

In Washington, President Barack Obama walked out of the White House with his wife, Michelle, to mark the 12th anniversary of the attacks with a moment of silence.

The president also attended a Sept. 11 ceremony at the Pentagon.

Chicago firefighter John Scheinpflug honored the 343 New York firefighters and paramedics who died, performing the NYFD “Striking the Four Fives” — a bell-striking custom that signifies the death of a firefighter in the line of duty.

“Close your eyes and remember where you were on that day,” Tom Ryan, Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 president urged the 100 or so in attendance. “Remember the total disbelief that enveloped us all. Remember that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach as we watched flames spew out from the gaping hole left in the first tower. ... We owe it to all those lost on that horrible day — to their families and the loved ones left behind — that we never, ever forget 9/11.”

Contributing: Associated Press



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