Firefighters travel to NYC for Sept. 11 memorial

September 10, 2011 8:54:48 PM PDT
Firefighters from across the country gathered at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York for a memorial service for colleagues killed in the September 11 attacks. The stars and stripes of 343 flags, signifying the New York Fire Department's fallen at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

It's where a memorial service, marking the 10th anniversary of the day that decimated the department's ranks was held on Saturday.

"Out of the depths of this tragedy we rebuilt the greatest fire department in the world. We were able to succeed because we had the memory of the 343 with us at every moment," FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said.

Those who died were the brothers, husbands and sons.

Like Patrick Mate Lyons who was born 26 days after his father died.

"I know you are in heaven and always watching over me. I love knowing that you are a hero. I wish I could've met you," Lyons said.

He is the future and today they marked the past.

"While the passage of a decade may have blunted some of the pain, it certainly hasn't filled the hole in our hearts," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

But the support is there from an extended firefighting family, New Yorkers and tourists.

"We're a brotherhood. We're all family. It doesn't matter if we never met each other, so just to be a part of that and show our support," San Bernardino County, California firefighter Steve Story explained.

The FDNY says all of the support lifts the department and families ever so slightly.

"I didn't think I was going to get as emotional as I did and it really, really touched me to see those flags. Because every single one of them is one member of the fire department that was lost," said Debra Lauro, daughter of fallen Battalion Chief Joseph Grizlak said.

There were 343 firefighters killed in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.