RCFD honors 9/11 FDNY firefighters
RAPID CITY, S.D. – As we remember that day 18 years ago, our local first responders do as well. The Rapid City Fire Department does it in a way that you might not even realize.
343. This number is displayed on the back of some of the engines here at Rapid City Fire Station One.
Lt. Jim Bussell, RCFD Public Information Officer, says “that is the number of FDNY firefighters that were killed on 9-11. For us, it’s an acknowledgement that firefighters are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to try and save lives. 9-11 was likely the largest rescue operation in the history of the fire service and the 343 firefighters that made the ultimate sacrifice that day, you’ll see this number all over and its an important number in the fire service.”
But that’s not the only number to keep in mind on this anniversary. Lt. Bussell adds that “what it does not acknowledge is the over 200 firefighters who have lost their lives since 9-11 due to 9-11 related illness or the thousands upon thousands who are still battling 9-11 related illness. While 343 is an important number in the fire service, it does not tell the entire story.”
President Trump signed the 9-11 victims compensation fund bill into law on Monday, July 29th of this year. More than 40,000 people have applied to the fund, which covers illnesses related to being at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon or Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the attacks.
“While we acknowledge that there were thousands of lives that were lost on 9-11, there are untold thousands upon thousands more lives that were saved because of the heroic actions of a lot of people on 9-11” said Lt. Bussell.