Charleston marks 9/11 in subdued ceremony
Retired firefighter Allen Duke had to travel from Summerville to downtown Charleston to find a 9/11 ceremony.
“I was on duty the day it happened,” he recalled of that morning 11 years ago.
“I saw the second plane hit the tower on the news. I knew right away that a lot of firefighters were going to die.”
Duke, formerly with the Old Fort department, attended one of the few organized remembrances around town on Tuesday that marked the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
It was put on by the city of Charleston Fire Department and took place beneath the old fire tower near Queen and Meeting streets.
The event featured a color guard but was without any speeches. Only the sound of a bagpiper, and the ringing of the city’s old fire bell, marked the solemn occasion.
The bell was struck 343 times to signify each of the firefighters lost in the collapse of the World Trade Center’s two towers. The ringing began at 9:58 a.m., coinciding with the time the first of the World Trade Center’s towers came down. It took about 10 minutes to complete the count.
Assistant Fire Chief Raymond Lloyd, who organized the event, said he envisioned a local ceremony of some kind being held every year for at least the next 20 years.
“Other people may forget, but we’ll always remember,” he said.
About 70 people, including tourists, office workers and city staffers attended the gathering.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.