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Remembering terror victims

FD?firefighters ring bells, raise U.S. flag

September 8, 2012
By HANS MADSEN, , Messenger News

When members of the Fort Dodge Fire Department gathered at Central Avenue and Ninth Street Saturday morning to pay tribute to those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, they brought along a bell.

For those in the fire service, firefighter Tim Pille said to those gathered, bells have always had a special significance.

They were used to signal the beginning of a watch, an alarm and a fire out.

Article Photos

Fort Dodge firefighters Nathan Simmons and Eric Conell guide the flag Saturday morning as the ladder truck boom holding it is raised into the sky during a bell-ringing ceremony at Market on Central.

They are also used to signal when a comrade - a brother - has fallen.

Firefighter Eric Conell, 22, is one of the newest members of the department.

He was in fifth grade at Fair Oaks Middle School on the day the towers fell almost 11 years and 343 firefighters and paramedics lost their lives.

"I watched it unfold in school," he said.

The events of that day didn't make his career choice for him.

"I was already going to be firefighter," he said.

Pete Bowden, of Fort Dodge, was at Fort McPherson in Georgia when the attacks came.

"It was surreal," he said. "Everybody was trying to get ahold of their families."

For Bowden, that took on a special urgency, several of his family members serve in the New York Police Department.

"Everybody made it through OK," he said.

Bowden thinks it's important to continue to remember and honor those who fell that day and that there's an important lesson in doing so.

"Take the time to appreciate family and loved ones," he said. "You never know what's going to happen.

Julie Larson, of Fort Dodge, sang "America the Beautiful" at the ceremony. She said she was honored to be part of the event. She also wants to remember.

"I don't think we should ever forget," she said.

During the ceremony, Lt. Jeff Hill rang the bell.

Three sets of three peals.

They echoed into the morning air.

For the last watch.



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