It was a beautiful Tuesday morning on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City when hundreds of first responders were dispatched to the scene where an airplane had just crashed into one of the buildings of the World Trade Center.
Eighteen minutes later, the second plane appeared, turned, and hit the the south tower.
That day, hundreds of those first responders gave their lives in what has been called the most horrific terrorist attack ever on American soil in the history of the United States.
In honor of those first responders who gave their lives and saved other lives that day, the Orange Branch of the Delaware County District Library has assembled a 9/11 display.
“I wanted to honor 9/11 and celebrate the people who saved everybody,” said Cindi Bardash, Orange Branch library associate. “Also, it’s to give the kids something to talk about because they don’t remember it. It’s just history to them.”
Bardash said the display is for the people who have not thought about 9/11 in awhile.
“It’s so people never forget,” she said. “Maybe the kids will get an interest in first responders and want to know more about them and what they do. It gives the parents something to bring up in conversation and talk about when they see it.”
Bardash’s display is composed of books written on the subject of 9/11. It stands near the branch’s main desk, making it easily seen by anyone walking in.
While designing her display dedicated those heroes of 9/11, Bardash felt it needed something extra, so she reached out to the Orange Township Fire Department in hopes it could provided that little extra something.
“I needed something to add to the top of the display to make it pop,” she said. “That’s where Capt. Miller came in.”
Orange Township Fire Department Capt. A. J. Miller loaned Bardash his helmet he wore as a lieutenant and pair of boots and firefighter pants from the department that weren’t being used. The items have been added to the top of the display.
Miller said the department traditionally dedicates the day of the anniversary of 9/11 as a training day.
“We kind of dedicate our training time for that day to all the first responders involved,” he said. “Typically on that day, we concentrate on saving our own. Whether it be (tank) air management or techniques for rescuing other firefighters that may be down.”
Miller said that today’s improvements in fire gear sometimes allows firefighters to be inside the fire too long, which can lead to firefighters not being able to get out in time.
“We understand it’s an inherent danger of the profession we chose,” he said. “We’re trying to bring the number down because there isn’t really an acceptable level of loss of our own. It’s all about that training day. Most of our training days are geared toward doing our job better and things of that nature.”
Miller said he knew some of the local first responders who were dispatched to the sight of the attacks.
“After the fact, I knew some of the task force members that were deployed from our area,” he said. “They came back and did some training from the lessons learned there.”
Bardash said she thinks it was either 2011 or 2012 when her family visited the sights of the terrorist attacks after her daughter graduated high school.
“My daughter was in first grade when this happen,” she said. “She has had a fascination with the whole thing. She doesn’t remember any of it. She only remembers what we’ve shown and told her. We went to New York and to Shanksville, (Pennsylvania).”
Bardash said that in middle of nowhere in Shanksville is a rock where the hole left from the impact of the plane had been filled in.
“People were still leaving notes for the victims,” she said. “You can’t even get close to this big rock that is suppose to be the memorial. They were still in construction putting individual stones up for the victims. It was nice.”
Bardash asked Miller if he had ever been to New York to the memorial to which he said he hadn’t.
“I like asking people where were they on 9/11,” Bardash said.
Then turning to Miller, she asked him where he was at the time of the attacks.
“I just got off work, and I was home with my newborn daughter,” he said. “Now she is 17 years old.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.