Hastings first responders remember those lost on 9/11

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Wednesday marks 18 years since the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Hastings first responders took time to honor the fallen and share their own stories.

Hastings first responders take time to remember people lost to the 9/11 attacks. (KSNB)

Bells tolled to remember the thousands of people who died on September 11, 2001. They spoke of those who went to work that day protecting the public. One firefighter saw the tragedy up close while assisting the Red Cross.

“It was still burning and they were still looking for people,” Asst. Fire Chief Curt Smith said. “That was about two and a half months later so the tragedy was still unfolding, people were still working the pile.”

The ceremony also took time to remember those who have died or will die from cancers linked to 9/11.

“What we didn't know back then was how many people would be suffering from cancer and lung related diseases because of working the pile for so long,” Smith said.

People shared the stories of where they were when the towers fell and the war in years following bringing even more loss and pain around the country.

“It's touched home here in Hastings, Nebraska,” Mike Butler, the owner of the Livingston Butler Funeral Home said. “We've had two military personnel that died in the war there you know.”

There is now an entire generation that was born after the attacks and speakers talked about how they teach kids how to take in what happened that day and the days following.

“We have a generation that wasn't alive at that time. and the day after and the months after how the country came together would be really nice for people to remember as divided as we are now,” Smith said.

The first responders of Hastings bowed their heads and prayed for the men and women who ran towards the wreckage to help 18 years ago.

“I think everybody has their own memories and they have to live with those and cherish those,” Butler said. “We need to keep the first responders, all first responders, in our hearts and in our minds.”