Pittsburg Fire Chief reflects on time spent assisting with recovery efforts on 9/11

PITTSBURG, Kan –Twenty years ago,  most Americans remember exactly where they were, and what they were doing the moment they heard the World Trade Center collapsed. 

For Pittsburg fire chief Dennis Reilly, although it’s been twenty years, he feels like it happened only ten minutes ago. 

Reilly was a battalion chief in new jersey, as well as a member of the state urban search and rescue task force.

“That morning we got alerted and actually deployed to New York City and we operated at ground zero for ten or twelve days…so I spent a lot of time at ground zero,” Reilly said.

Even twenty years later, the importance of remembering 9/11, remains.

Although with time, it’s harder for younger generations to remember what happened that day. 

“We have people working in this agency that are riding our fire engines and making runs every single day, that weren’t even in kindergarten when 9/11 occurred.  They don’t have a clear memory of that day.”

This is why chief Reilly emphasizes the importance of commemorating this day and educating those too young to remember. 

“Sooner or later I’m gonna retire, and that message needs to live long after I’m gone. The only way we can ensure that to happen is to make sure we have these memorials, we have the commemorative events, we talk about this we keep it… insight, in their vision because twenty years is a long time, I get that, we just have to make sure that we just don’t let it fall off of the radar.”

And the aftermath still haunts first responders every day. That’s why Reilly stresses the importance of really remembering. 

“Never forget is just nothing more than a fancy slogan on a t-shirt, unless you are willing to do something constructive unless you are willing to do something substantial.” 

On Saturday, the city of Pittsburg will conduct a service to recognize the anniversary of 9/11. It will be at fire station number one and will begin at 8:40 am