HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The number 343 holds a special meaning for firefighters and first responders across our nation. That number represents firefighters lives lost on September 11, 2001.
“Those firefighters were getting up at their home,” Said an emotional Huntsville Fire and Rescue Captain, Stephen Jones. “They told their wives and children goodbye, for the last time.”
When our nations Twin Towers were hit, and Pentagon struck, those first responders reacted with instinct. They bravely went into burning buildings knowing what their fate could ultimately become.
“They were just doing their job,” Said Captain Jones. “They were doing what they were trained to do.”
A mentality shared in a brotherhood of service.
“But they didn’t think anything about it because that is what we are trained to do and that’s how we proceeded.” Explains Captain Jones.
Earlier this year, a Huntsville firefighter drove past mile marker 343 on Highway 231 in Meridianville. He remembered his family lost that fateful day and wanted to do something to pay tribute. The Huntsville Fire and Rescue seized the opportunity to honor the fallen, adopting the mile marker.
“It’s just one more way we can remember those fire fighters,” Said Captain Jones. “Yes, we are very proud.”
So next time drive past marker 343 in Meridianville, take a moment to see the sign. Maybe even take a moment to remember the fateful day that forever changed our nation’s history, and helped make us a more united America.
The department is responsible for tending to the mile. They will be on site multiple times a year cleaning up the site and making sure it’s looking good.