Belton firefighters honor fallen 9/11 victims
By Patrick Lacombe
The Belton Journal
When these two words are spoken, everyone knows it’s in reference to one of America’s darkest days, the cowardly attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the airliner that crashed near Shanksville, Pa., which authorities later determined was headed to the White House.
The Belton Fire Department, led by Fire Chief Francisco R. Corona, demonstrated their resolve to Never Forget their fallen brothers from FDNY and the other victims of this tragedy by holding a Remembrance Ceremony last Thursday morning, Sept. 11, at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Crusader Stadium. The ceremony started promptly at 8:30 a.m. with Chief Corona welcoming the crowd. The Chief then called for Firefighter Tony Chapa to lead the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the invocation, led by Steve Cannon, Executive Director of J.A.I.L. Ministry of Belton.
A Moment of Silence was observed at 0846 hours, which was the moment the North Tower of the World Trade Center was hit by the first airliner. On duty firefighters then presented a red, white, and blue wreath with the numbers 343 inscribed on the bottom which represents the number of firefighters and EMT’s that perished that day in the line of duty.
The firefighters then donned their full gear and ascended the steps of Crusader Stadium to the top parapet, then descended to the bottom and repeated in honor of their fallen comrades who climbed the stairs to rescue those injured in the towers.
Captain John Stowell and Lieutenant Bryan Campbell of the Belton FD, led the way for the firefighters. Captain Stowell recalled that day 13 years ago, “I was at home and my brother who is a firefighter in Midland called and said, Hey, you need to turn on your TV. It was just after the first plane had hit, I just felt numb. It was all so surreal, I couldn’t believe it was happening.” When asked why a firefighter would climb up the stairs when everyone else is going down to safety, Captain Stowell replied, “It’s dedication and sacrifice to the job, because on a deal like that, you know you might not be coming home at the end of the day.”