CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The fire engine Rescue 5 was brought to the main side parking lot here on April 25 by the Remembrance Rescue Project volunteers to raise awareness and encourage discussion about the events of 9/11.
Rescue 5 responded to the calls for help at the North Tower of the World Trade Center after the airplanes flew into the towers on 9/11.
The engine, which was decommissioned from the FDNY and purchased by the project in 2011, travels between host fire departments across the country not only as an educational tool, but also as a memorial to those firefighters who were killed in the line of duty that day.
The families of the fallen firefighters encouraged the display of this engine across the country as an educational tool, but also as a memorial to their family members.
While the families encourage questions about and contact with the engine, they had two very special requests of the firefighters who display the rescue engine. The first is that only firefighters be allowed inside the engine, and the second is that no one photographs the inner, rear section. That is an area where many of the family members went to make peace with the loss of their loved one, said Kevin Shin, the Fire Captain of the Culver City Fire Department, the department that was hosting the Rescue 5 engine.
The project is made up of off-duty firefighters dedicated to helping individuals, especially youth, understand the events of 9/11 and the significance of the firefighters’ involvement, said Kevin Shin.
Shin, an active duty Marine at the time, said he visited ground zero about a week after the attack. That visit really affected him he said because he had a sister living in New York. He went on to join the fire department a few years after leaving active duty, which he has now been a part of for 10 years. He said he is proud to be a part of this project which allows the public to gain a different perspective, the firefighter’s perspective, on the events of 9/11.
John Crook, the fire department division chief here, said when he sees this engine it gives him goose bumps. He said he was on duty in the Air Force the morning of the attack, and those memories come rushing back to him when he sees the red, white and yellow paint on the truck, which for him holds special meaning as a firefighter.
The Remembrance Rescue Project is still a young project, but they plan to keep the engine moving around the country to be displayed by other fire departments according to Shin. The Project strives to keep the memories alive of those lost on September 11th and all firefighters killed in the line of duty every year.