NEW YORK — It carried numerous heroes on Sept. 11, 2001, and on July 20, the apparatus used by members of Ladder 3 to respond to the World Trade Center became a part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum's permanent installation.
More than 75 family members, friends and fellow firefighters attended the solemn tribute ceremony.
"The truck is a reminder of the condition the Department was in after 9/11," Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said, in reference to its damage. "Seeing it here today was very emotional, but it shows our families we have not forgotten their loved ones' sacrifice."
Twelve members of Ladder 3 were lost while evacuating civilians from the North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001.
The front of the apparatus was shorn off in the collapse of the towers. Its main body and ladders were damaged beyond repair and some of the company's rescue tools are entangled in the vehicle. It has been stored at Hangar 17 at JFK International Airport since its recovery.
A crane lowered the 60,000-lbs. truck 70 feet into the exhibition area. It was wrapped to protect it and draped with an American and FDNY flag.
In addition to Ladder 3, several other apparatus will be part of the exhibition, including Engine 21 and an FDNY ambulance.
"It brought up a lot of emotion," Firefighter Jim Wind, the senior member at Ladder 3, said of the ceremony. "The job lives on through tradition, and we are here today to keep that tradition alive. This is a tribute not only to [Ladder 3's] firefighters, but all the firefighters who died that day."
Firefighter Wind said he was at home, on vacation, when the tragedy occurred. He responded in the recall and found his company's riding list (naming the members who were on-duty) on the rig while at the site, and began searching for them.
"This is one step in the healing process," said Firefighter Michael Moran of Ladder 3. His brother, Chief John Moran, was killed in the attacks while working with the Special Operations Command.
Firefighter Moran was a chauffeur for Ladder 3 and was relieved by another member that morning after he worked the night tour. He said he figures he drove the apparatus in the exhibition more than 2,000 times. "I had a big attachment to it, we spent a lot of time together," he said.
He added: "This [ceremony] is nice for the families and nice for the FDNY. It's a wonderful tribute to all those who answered the call that day."
For more information about the 9/11 Memorial Museum, visit www.911memorial.org
Republished with permission from FDNY.