AFD, City of Austin remembers 9/11, 18 years later

You might remember where you were during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Austin Fire Department Division Chief Palmer Buck does vividly. "I was at work actually ironically enough working with a building on how to do high rise evacuations. We started getting called back to the office as we realized the extent of what had happened when the second plane, and then the third plane into the pentagon, we realized the country was under attack," said Buck.

As Buck participated in a ceremony at the Buford tower downtown, he reflected on how he felt during that terrible moment. "The entire department was stood up on a high level or alert, nobody knew what was going to happen next," said Buck.

In addition to the tower ceremony, in the humid hot weather, firefighters did a stair climb, equivalent to the height of the World Trade Center. It was a way to express empathy toward first responders who risked it all "We have stories of how far a few of them went, but they couldn't finish the climb. So that's kind of our motto is to finish the climb," said Lt. Jerry Cohen, AFD.

Cohen helped start the annual stair climb tradition in Austin on the morning after the attacks.

"We climbed up the equivalent of about 100 plus floors, in all of our gear, we did it as a team, we did it quietly, and reflected on what was still fresh in our minds," said Cohen.

Wrapping up the day at the capitol, bagpipes of the Emergency Service Pipes and Drums Association gathered to remember the nearly 3,000 on 9/11. "Every generation had their 9/11 moment. You had Pearl Harbor, you had JFK's assassination, we can name off a little everybody remembers where they were. My generation remembers 9/11," said Cohen.

A first responder never knows when he or she might be called on to make the ultimate sacrifice. That's why the country will be sure to never forget Sept. 11, 2011.