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Firefighters honor those lost on 9/11, reflect on where they were that day

Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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MARATHON CITY, Wis. (WSAW) - In what has become a yearly tradition, the Marathon City Fire Department, joined by surrounding agencies, took to the Main Street and marched up the downtown hill, many in full uniform, to honor those lost 19 years ago in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Now, nearly two decades later, a frequently asked question is “Where were you on 9/11?”

NewsChannel 7 asked several of the firefighters and first responders participating in the Silent March, as well as those watching from the sidewalks as a way to pay their respects.

“I was in school. We were watching a video and the teacher came in and turned on the video on to the news and we watched it from there,” explained Amber Clark, a firefighter with the Hamburg Department. “There’s a reason that I joined a fire department and it’s because of 9/11.”

Riley Westfall was in third grade at Jefferson Elementary in Merrill at the time the planes hit the World Trade Center.

“It’s remembrance of people who climbed that tower and lost their lives that day,” said Westfall, also a member of the Hamburg Fire Department. “I just want to give back to them people and show other people that there’s good out there, not evil.”

For Craig Prihoda, a return to Marathon after the attacks lead to him joining the fire department.

“I was in Minnesota at my job when it happened and I remember all of us going down to the cafeteria because we heard stuff was going on and it’s just surreal,” Prihoda explained. “They sent us home to be with family.”

Prihoda says events like Friday’s Silent March are meant not only to honor those lost, but educate those who were born after the attacks as to the importance that the date 9/11/2001 has in the United States.

Young adults like Jared Seymour, who at just 18 years old is now a member of the Marathon Fire Department.

“A little over 5 months before I was born when this happened,” explained Seymour, talking about the attacks. “Definitely something that really effected this country a lot and a lot of people in our line of work, whether it be EMS or fire; police as well. A lot of people lost their lives.”

Steve Krautkramer lined the sidewalks in Marathon with family and friends Friday honoring the first responders marching, and remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“I was actually driving from our house out to our farm and as I was driving down the road I kept hitting the buttons for the radio because it was all commentary, no music and I didn’t understand why until I stopped and listened,” Krautkramer said. “I think it really means the ultimate sacrifice by first responders and private citizens.”

For Joy Zissler, she woke from a nap in her living room in Saginaw, Michigan to see the second plane hit crash into the towers, adding Friday’s march was a beautiful tribute.

“It’s wonderful how everybody has come back and how everybody remembers that day and remembers the survivors,” Zissler said. “Never forget.”

Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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