Carson City residents may not have heard of firefighter Pat “Patty” Brown until Tuesday night’s remembrance of 9/11 at Mills Park, but they easily understood the heroism of the New York City fire captain and his men from Ladder 3.
On that tragic day 17 years ago, 19 terrorists hijacked four passengers jets and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center’s North and South towers, and a third plane into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in a western Pennsylvania field when passengers overpowered the terrorists and tried to take control of the United flight when it spiraled to the ground.
It’s these acts of heroism that Tuesday’s speakers revealed. Carson City Fire Chief Sean Slamon, though, asked a favor of those in attendance, requesting that they introduce themselves to each other. Many shook hands.
“That’s what makes this community and city special,” Slamon said. “I can’t tell you how honored I enjoy being part of this city.”
In a story told by Slamon, Patty looked danger in the eye beginning with his teenage years when he talked his father, an FBI agent, into signing papers so the 17-year-old could join the Marines and fight in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Slamon said, Brown became a highly-decorated sergeant, and after he finished his enlistment, he joined the New York Fire Department where he rose up the ranks and became the most decorated firefighter in the department’s history.
“He was a man who embraced life to its fullest,” Slamon pointed out, adding Brown received many medals for bravery. “On the morning of Sept. 11, Capt. Brown led 11 fire fighters into the North Tower to rescue as many civilians as possible.”
Brown was blessed by having almost a dozen men who wanted to place their lives on the line. It was shift change, and those finishing graveyard decided to stay because they felt it was their duty. Slamon detailed how the firefighters would meet each other in one of the tower’s lobbies and hug each other, knowing they may not see each other again.
“Sept. 1, 2001 … Capt. Patty Brown and his entire crew of Ladder 3 died in the collapse of the North Tower,” Slamon said.
Before they perished, Slamon said Patty’s men and hundreds of other New York firefighters safely evacuated and rescued 25,000 people from the North Tower.
The Carson City Christian Ministerial Fellowship gathered to remember, pray and reflect on Sept. 11 and the thousands of lives that were lost. Pastor Patrick Propster of Cavalry Chapel said it’s important for people to never forgot that day and how it changed the way people thought in the United States.
“When the terrorist attacks appeared on our soil, the greatest of heroic acts directly followed,” he said.
Propster said we must remember the people and first responders who died that day. He said our strength and ability to overcome tragedy such as this keep this country’s people together and united as in the United States of America.
Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell reinforced Propster’s words of never forgetting the patriots who died on Sept. 11 and to remain vigilant in an evil world.
“Today we reaffirm the basic goodness of Americans and our collective strength and wisdom to persevere against attacks on our democracy and our way of life,” he said. “Today we cherish and recommit ourselves to the ideals and values upon which our nation, the greatest nation in the history of the world, was founded.”
Crowell said Tuesday was a day for remembrance to respect the men and women who lost their lives as well as their families and friends who now live with only their memories. Crowell, along with the other speakers, said 2,996 people died including 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers. More than 6,000 were injured.
“It was the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of our union,” he said. “This carnage was perpetrated by 19 members of Al Qaeda, a radical Islamic terrorist organization.”
Sheriff Ken Furlong said changes occurred after Sept. 11, but most importantly, he said it’s important to appreciate those who died on that day 17 years ago. He said thousands of casualties affected many people in this country as well as around the world. Furlong said every event that now occurs is analyzed for protecting and saving lives. Speaking in front of a steel beam taken from the debris of the two towers, Furlong said it acts as a reminder.
“This beam also represents to me that all of America is made of from the fallen to the heroes,” he said, also citing how magnificent architects and builders designed and erected the World Trade Center.
“The blood shed on 9/11 must never be forgotten for once forgotten, we are destined to repeat history,” he added.
Because of the events 17 years ago, Furlong said first responders were better prepared to respond a mass shooting by a lone gunman at country music concert at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. He also noted the heroism Carson City’s first responders faced seven years ago after a gunman killed four people at the IHOP Restaurant, which, ironically, was days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Other pastors also spoke during the one-hour remembrance including Bruce Henderson, Don Bowman and Nick Emery. Bagpiper Robert Bledsaw led a combined honor guard of the Carson City Sheriff and Fire Departments to present the colors. Douglas High School freshman Joclyn Fazzino led the crown in the Pledge of Allegiance.