News20 Years Later: Texans Remember 9/11

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Texas firefighters keep memory of fallen 9/11 heroes alive

Posted at 2:02 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 01:07:32-04

LAMPASAS, Texas — Drive through any sleepy Texas town of some 7,200 residents, and there won't be many strangers.

People tend to look after their neighbors in places like Lampasas. It’s one of the reasons to call it home.

“Firefighting in Lampasas is awesome. It’s a great community,” said Lampasas firefighter Tyler Gillis.

Gillis is one of a dozen, full-time firefighters in town. His crews see just about everything.

“We might have a house fire one day, or a huge grass fire out on the county, or wrecks all over, you never know,” he said.

But one thing they count on daily is a reminder of the dangers to the job, whether it's in rural Texas or 1,700 miles away in New York City.

“It means a lot, just to have a piece to remember,” Gillis told 25 News.

The firefighter is talking about the rusting, 4,000 pounds of steel that has graced the front of the firehouse for 17 years.

The beam debris from the Twin Towers serves as a powerful testament to the sacrifice so many gave that tragic day.

“I just remember I was in home room," Gillis said. "We watched on the TV and then my mom came and picked us up out of school and said, ‘We’re going home."

On September 11th, more than 400 first-responders lost their lives, including more than 340 firefighters.

“I have little kids, [and] my buddies have little kids," Gillis said. "You don’t want to see that happen to anybody."

Firehouses across the country have similar remnants from the World Trade Center.

For each man and woman that puts on a helmet, the 20th anniversary of the attack hits close to home, no matter where they are stationed.

“It’s always in the back of your mind," Gillis said.

Every year, Lampasas hosts a remembrance ceremony outside of the firehouse, complete with an enormous American flag and moment of silence.

This year will be no different.