Never Forget: Firefighters run to honor men and women who lost their lives during 9/11

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CLAY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s been 19 years since America’s world was changed forever when two airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Time has healed some of the wounds, but local firefighters host a run each year to honor those who served and lost their lives on that tragic day.

“We’re a brother and sisterhood and we want to keep the memory going. Never forget,” Robert Dreitlein Jr., a firefighter for the Moyers Corners Fire Department, said. 

When you’re a firefighter you are a part of a family, explained Robert. So, the 343 firefighters that lost their lives 19 years ago trying to save thousands of others, has really stuck with Robert to this day.

Never forget was the message Dreitlein and a team of firefighters were looking to get across as they ran about seven miles from one fire station to the next Friday morning. 

Dreitlein said, “On 9/11 a lot of people perished, the firefighters, the 343, a lot of civilians, police officers and all who have served since that day, and all who are still affected by that day, we’re here to honor them and remember and carry on the memory.”

This is the seventh year Robert Dreitlein has participated in the 9/11 Honor Run, and each year he’s reminded about the brave men and women with every step.

“Thinking about where I was and what I observed on the news, the constant news about people who have perished, the names,” Dreitlein said. “I get notifications anytime a firefighter or police officer has passed due to 9/11 related illnesses. So, I’m thinking about everyone that has perished since that day.”

On top of running the seven miles, Robert wears a fire helmet so everyone driving by knows why he is running. 

“It does add a little bit of weight because this is one of the older style leather helmets that firefighters use, and I used it for the department. It’s now a retired helmet, so I use it for the 9/11 Honor Run,” Dreitlein said.

Dreitlein has also participated in a 5K in New York City to honor the victims of 9/11.

He continues to honor the first responders because even when just one firefighter passes away it feels like he loses a member of his family. 

“We are like a family. It’s a home away from home,” Dreitlein said.

Due to COVID-19, the turnout for this year’s 9/11 Honor Run wasn’t as big as usual, but the group plans to be back next year because they will never forget. 


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