ASHEVILLE – Members of the Asheville community, city leaders and staff on Sunday gathered to observe the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The ceremony was led by the Asheville Fire Department and was held in the Ferguson Auditorium of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.
Officials say the total number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks was 2,819. The number of firefighters and paramedics killed was 343. Twenty-three New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers were also killed.
Some 3,051 children lost a parent that day.
To date, some $1.4 billion has been donated to 9/11 focused charities.
Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette shared his feelings about the somber occasion in an editorial that ran Sunday in the Asheville Citizen-Times as part of the newspaper’s anniversary coverage:
“The attention and focus that firefighters receive during this time is often awkward for us. Firefighters do not consider themselves heroic. As firefighters we know that we are human, fallible and vulnerable. We strive every day to live up to the honor the public places upon us, and we carry a heavy burden to not let the public or our fellow firefighters down. We spend a lot of time trying to understand this paradox.
“Although we do not consider ourselves heroes, our heroes are firefighters. The 343 firefighters who died on 9/11 are our heroes. Capt. Bowen [who died in the line of duty in Asheville on July 28] is our hero.
“We take great honor in participating in recognizing these heroes for what they stand for and who they are…”
See more photos of the ceremony at http://bit.ly/nwAqRx.