Many first responders focused on Harvey and Irma victims this 9/11

AFD firefighters participate in annual stair climb to honor 9/11 victims (KXAN Photo / Justin Hobby)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Fire Department Captain Mike Becker remembers well where he was the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Here, it just seemed so quiet and so still,” said the 31-year veteran of the department. “It was just a strange time, a strange date.”

Becker was on duty at the fire house when the World Trade Center towers in New York City were first struck by terrorists in hijacked air planes.

“This time of year in the fall when September rolls around, just the blue skies and the still winds a lot of times, it brings back those memories of what went on that day,” Becker said.

Each year since the attacks, 9/11 has served as a day of remembrance. This year has an added sense of meaning, with victims of Hurricane Harvey, and now Hurricane Irma, in need.

“I think the thoughts are still with the people that lost a lot back then, and the thoughts of the people that are losing stuff right now,” Becker said.

Derrick Townsend is a firefighter with AFD. He’s much younger than Captain Becker, serving just over 2 years so far. A teenager during 9/11, he still understands the gravity of history, as well as current struggles.

“It’s interesting to think about all the things that have gone on in our past, especially 9/11. We’ve got hurricanes, we’ve got the fires on the west coast, we have an earthquake that just hit Mexico,” Townsend said. “All around us there’s difficult times for people and hopefully we can be the ones that provide that aid and provide them a better outlook on life.”

AFD has dedicated events normally focused on remembering 9/11 to also remembering the victims of recent hurricanes.

Townsend feels there’s no better way to honor those who lost their lives serving their cities during 9/11.

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