As planes took off into the gray sky at Pittsburgh International Airport Tuesday morning, firefighters raised a symbol of the nation’s remembrance and pride that has endured 17 years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Allegheny County Airport Authority firefighters Scott Frederick and Craig Nunamaker brought home an American flag that had flown in combat with the crew of a B-1B bomber in Afghanistan. The two men were recently deployed with the 171 st Air National Guard at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Their duties were to provide fire protection at the base that was home to some 15,000 people and 80 aircraft.
The ceremony on Tuesday was a solemn yet hopeful reminder of the sacrifice and contributions of our military abroad, first responders at home and the victims and heroes at the Twin Towers, Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa. The flag will fly above the fountain today on the Departures curb, and later at Airport Fire Station Echo.
“We wanted to memorialize their mission and service, and display it proudly at the terminal today,” said Fire Chief Rick Wilson.
Frederick stressed the importance of continuing to honor our brothers and sisters who serve. “I definitely feel pride in being a first responder,” he said. “I love helping people and the community, and I think that’s why everyone decides to serve.”