BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – With the 15th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11th nearing, a piece of the World Trade Center towers made its way through the state Wednesday.
The piece was escorted by a motorcycle convoy, made up of mostly retired first responders, on a trek from New York City to Gander, Newfoundland.
There it will serve as a long overdue ‘thank you’ to an airport and town that welcomed hundreds of diverted passengers on that day 15 years ago.
The convoy of some 20 riders, known as the NYC Fire Riders, stopped at a number of fire departments in the state—including Bangor’s.
"You can feel something special when you touch that piece of steel. For me it sends the shivers right up my back,” Bangor Fire Chief Tom Higgins said. "Any firefighter that was working during that era has a special feeling for that day."
The group arrived at the fire station, greeted with a massive American flag flying from the ladder truck and a number of Bangor firefighters.
For local firefighters the piece of steel was a stark reminder of that harrowing day.
"It was a really a point in time where we shifted to consider ourselves more at risk than normal. Obviously the job we do is risky in and of itself, but to consider the possibility that some of the things we respond to and try to manage in some cases unfortunately we become targets,” Bangor Firefighter David Estes said.
It was also an opportunity to connect with other firefighters from across the country.
"Doing the job it's always referred to as a brotherhood or sisterhood because we share the same struggles,” Estes said.
Struggles that these brave men and women say are all part of the job.
"All firefighters do the same job. Whether it's in a big department small department, career or volunteer, they're all willing to go in and risk their lives any day for someone in need,” Higgins said.
The piece of steel will stay in Central Station overnight Wednesday before continuing its journey north Thursday.
It will then be placed at the Gander International Airport.
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