Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s fire inspector Anthony King rings the bell for the tolling of the bells to honor firefighters who died during 9/11. Photo by Katrina Wilson

 

JBM-HH’s 9/11 observance on Fort Myer firehouse honors fallen

The tolling of the bells rang outside of the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s firehouse as an announcement was heard to have a moment of silence to honor the fallen. It was 9:37 a.m. — the moment American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001.

“On a clear sunny day 18 years ago, terrorists hijacked four passenger planes to carry out coordinated suicide attacks,” said Fort Myer Fire department’s assistant chief Joshua Williams. “The terrorists flew the aircrafts — two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and one in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.”

Williams said the American Airlines Flight 77 took off from Washington Dulles International Airport at 8:20 a.m., headed toward Los Angeles with 64 people on board, but crashed into the Pentagon by 9:37 a.m.

Three Fort Myer firefighters were on sight when Flight 77 hit the Pentagon — Allan Wallace, Mark Skipper and Dennis Young, who died this year from 9/11 complications.

After Williams spoke, there was the tolling of the bells, which is an English tradition.

“The ceremony is based upon a pattern, an original method of communication that a firefighter had fallen, which was the telegraph,” Williams said. “The telegraph would tap out the word ‘fell’ with five measured dashes, pause and then repeat. The bell gets rung a set of five, four times.”

Capt. James Angerett, was a firefighter with the Fort Myer Fire department 9/11, and he recalled the entire department being in class that morning for aircraft firefighting.

“We went from class, directly to (the Pentagon) –with the exception of the three already out there,” Angerett said.

He said from that moment to around 10 that night, he and others assisted at the Pentagon. They had a debriefing night with critical incident stress counselors, and were finally able to eat and call Family members.

“It was the first time (that day) that we could reach out and call,” Angerett said. “I called my parents in Pittsburgh.”

He said observances for 9/11 are important because it recognizes service and sacrifice.

“It recognizes those who are willing to serve and sacrifice — you never want to lose sight of that.”