LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Like most people, firefighter Tim Szymanski remembers exactly where he was on September 11, 2001.
“I was in the park down the street jogging before I was to report to duty downtown,” Szymanski said. “It was 7 o’clock — a lady stopped me in the park and said New York City was being bombed.”
Szymanski took part in the planning of a remembrance tribute that was Wednesday morning in honor of those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center tragedy. It’s the annual Tolling of the Bell in honor of the 9/11 victims. A retired firefighter from New York City sang the national anthem.
“We knew there were lots of firefighters in there. When you saw that building come down, you knew that all of those firefighters were trapped inside there and they weren’t going to survive,” Szymanski said.
A longtime tradition in the fire service known as the “Tolling of the Bells” will be used for the remembrance.
On Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at 6:50 a.m., a bell will be rung in front of Las Vegas Fire Station 5 as tribute. The tribute will also be transmitted over the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue’s communications channel.
“The tolling of the bells was a signal to the fire stations in the olden days that a firefighter had just lost their life in the line of duty,” said Szymanski.
If a firefighter was killed in the line of duty, Szymanski says fire dispatch would ring the bell in sets of five, three times. This would let everyone on the department know that a firefighter had just lost his or her life while on the job.
In addition to the ringing of the bells, a special United States flag that once flew over the World Trade Center will be hoisted to half-staff on the flagpole in front of Fire Station 5.
The public is invited to join firefighters at any of the city fire stations during the tribute Wednesday morning.