Fort Walton Beach Fire Department remembers 9/11

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Eighteen years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, many people remember what they were doing that morning.

A new ceremonial bell was unveiled at the Fort Walton Beach Fire Department's 9/11 remembrance ceremony. (WJHG/WECP)

"I was just getting out of bed, getting dressed to go to work," said Chief Ken Perkins, Fort Walton Beach Fire Department.

Retired Detroit Firefighter Louis Gusoff traveled to ground zero after the attacks, and says what he saw, he will never forget.

"The upside-down fire engines, the ladder truck laying on its side, but the worst thing was the 10 House," said Gusoff.

On Wednesday, the Fort Walton Beach Fire Department remembered and honored the firefighters who died on September 11.

"We lost, you know, the best in the fire service on the worst day in America," said Perkins.

The number 343 is engraved on the fire department shield to honor the firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, but the bell also has special history of its own that will be carried on to future generations of firefighters."

"It was only fitting that we use our ceremonial bell today to ring out code 5555 that recognizes those New York City firefighters, and all those who were lost on September 11," said Perkins.

The bell was first put into use in 1962 by the Detroit Fire Department.

"This bell went through some really big fires in Detroit... and it was on one of the busiest engines in the city," said Gusoff.

Perkins says it's important to honor those who lost their lives not only on the anniversary of 9/11 but also in their day-to-day duties.

"We also remember them by making sure we're prepared, that we train that we uphold their honor because there are so many that came before us, and there will be those that come after us," said Perkins.

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