- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2002

On a grassy knoll in the middle of a wind-swept cemetery yesterday, local firefighters dedicated a memorial to hundreds of fire personnel who died 400 miles away one tragic September day.
At the Last Alarm Garden, a portion of Fort Lincoln Cemetery set aside for the burial of emergency personnel, firefighters from Maryland and the District paused to remember 343 firefighters who lost their lives when the World Trade Center crumbled.
"I spent my life as firefighter and I know the sacrifices involved," said Prince George's County Council member M.H. "Jim" Estep, District 9 Democrat and former county fire chief. "The profound events of September 11 put the risks we face in perspective. Today our focus is on those who risk their lives to help others."
The ceremony began with an honor guard culled from several jurisdictions, including Prince George's and Montgomery counties. Afterward, firefighter Scott Forbes of Montgomery County sang the national anthem. A host of speakers, including representatives of the District and Prince George's fire departments and firefighter unions, spoke before the dedication.
The memorial sits at the entrance to the Last Alarm Garden and is engraved with a poem titled "Remembering A Friend."
"As thousands ran from the towers, they ran towards it," Prince George's Fire Chief Ron Blackwell said of the New York City firefighters' attempt to help on September 11.
"They had no doubt in their minds that they would put it out. That is the spirit of our service and our common level of dedication."
As the fire chief stood near the memorial, he said it was the nation's duty to remember those special men and women.
He added: "We come here today not only to honor the loss but to honor their spirit."


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