Members of the Boiling Springs Fire Department salute the raising of the United States flag during ceremonies today to dedicate the 9/11 Memorial.
Fire Department personnel surround the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza where a steel I-beam was anchored to honor all first responders and civilians killed in New York City on Sept. 9, 2011.
Fire Chief Steve Graham delivers opening remarks today during the ceremony commemorating July 4 and the 9/11 Memorial Plaza at the Boiling Springs Fire Department.
Matt Graham, son of BSFD Chief Steve Graham, attended the ceremony with his wife, Alyssa, and his son, Aiden. “I’ve grown up with a tradition of firefighting. I was in eighth grade on September 11, I remember exactly where I was at and what I was doing. It means a lot to me because 343 firefighters died that day, and it’s something our country will never forget.”
The plaza started with a vision of BSFD to create a memorial featuring a steel beam from the World Trade Center site honoring those who gave their lives on September 11, 2001. The members of the district raised funds, obtained sponsorships from local businesses, and put in hours of labor to make the vision a reality.
Chief Steve Graham opened the ceremony by welcoming firefighters from BSFD and neighboring departments, as well as elected officials and members of the community. “This is a momentous occasion not only for the Boiling Springs Fire Department, but also for the community in general.”
Members of the BSFD’s Honor Guard were in full dress uniform and participated in the ceremony, performing the color guard and raising the flag.
Butch Kirven, Greenville County Council Chair and retired Army National Guard Brigadier General, drew attendees’ attention to the birth of our country, the spirit of independence and freedom, and the demonstration through September 11 that the same spirit is alive and strong in the nation’s people. “This 9/11 memorial shows us that things have not changed. If we want to defend our freedom, we have to be vigilant, we have to be prepared, and we have to fight for it,” Kirven said. He thanked those who gave their lives on September 11 and those who dedicate their lives to rescuing others’ lives today.
Representative Phyllis Henderson of the SC House of Representatives gave accolades to the Boiling Springs Fire District, “I have known these people for many years. And I’ve known them not only to be a wonderful fire department with their ISO rating of 1 and their dedication, but also showing you today that they care about this community. They care about things that are going to make this community a better place, and they care about remembering people who gave their lives.”
The event ended with a ribbon cutting, performed by local business sponsors who donated supplies, labor, and expertise to the construction of the memorial. The ribbon cutting was followed by a time of celebration around food and refreshments. Attendees mingled with fire department members and community leaders. Stories were exchanged and memories were recounted as people talked about September 11 and their experiences.
Matt Graham, son of Chief Steve Graham, was there with his wife and son. He said, “I’ve grown up with a tradition of firefighting. I was in eighth grade on September 11, I remember exactly where I was at and what I was doing. It means a lot to me because 343 firefighters died that day, and it’s something our country will never forget.”
Paula Anderson attended with her family. “I almost cry when I think about America. It’s amazing the freedom that we have. I just hope that people realize the incredible freedom that we have. I’m proud to be an American,” Anderson said.
Regina Irey, wife of BSFD firefighter Brian Irey, had a unique perspective. “We are originally from outside of D.C. and were there in 2001. I remember all the chaos and how scary everything quickly became. I knew the United States had changed forever. We moved to the Upstate of South Carolina almost five years ago and I am proud that my husband is part of the Boiling Springs Fire District. They are a family full of heart, passion, and determination. They created a beautiful and inspiring memorial to the day we will never forget. It will be nice for us and anyone who wants to be able to say a prayer or talk about that day whatever their age.”