BY HAILEY MINTON
Local firefighters reflect on how the terrorist attack changed America and how we have changed since.
Logan Layne is a Weber County resident from Taylor and a firefighter with the Layton Fire Department. We stopped by the station where he works and chatted with him and the other firefighters. We reflected on the fact that it has been 20 years since the terrorist attack on the Sept. 11, 2001, and we talked about the changes that have occurred since then.
Logan was serving an LDS mission in Texas, and he and his companion were volunteering at a hospital when it happened. Their apartment was right next to the World Trade Center in Dallas, so it left a level of uncertainty about their own future. “We were working in the ER, translating, and we could see what was happening on the TV there.” Later, he remembered going to the grocery store, and everything turned to America.
“Every magazine had flags on them. There were all kinds of people who died trying to help out. Everything was focused on being united. We need to get back to that,” Logan said.
Roxanne Baumen said there are some amazing things that happen when she goes to help with disasters. There is property destruction, lives lost, disruption in lives, and income lost. “It’s sad, but the coolest thing is watching everyone come together, especially on the civilian side…Disasters remind us what’s important.”
Roxanne and her dog, Cole, are a part of the Utah Task Force One team. She is one of 10 teams in Utah that are mobilized any time there is a situation that calls for people to be found. She wasn’t involved at the time, but the Utah Task Force went to New York and helped with the rescue efforts. Cole came from the Search Dog Foundation, an organization that takes rescued dogs, gives them professional training, and partners them with firefighters. Finding the person is essential in rescuing. A dog’s speed and accuracy in finding people is unparalleled, and dogs like Cole were put to work at Ground Zero after the attack. The search pile was a mountain of debris about eight stories high, and there were about 400 working dogs at the scene. In all, there were 23 survivors who were rescued after the building collapsed. Search dogs like Cole have boldness, drive, energy, strength, agility, and focus. Typically, labs, golden retrievers, border collies, and mixes of these breeds are the most likely to have these qualities. Cole is a mix between a black lab and a basset hound and will likely retire in 2023.
Tyler Kilmer was in 4th grade at the time, and his grandfather and father were volunteer firefighters from his home town in Payson, Utah. “It was impactful to see their thoughts and how they’ve gone through the service and see the changes throughout the years that have come from it.” Ben DeJong didn’t get involved in the fire service until four years after the attack, but he noticed a change in firefighter’s level of preparedness. “We never thought, in a million years, that could happen intentionally.” He explained it opened everyone’s eyes to not write off the impossible. “There’s not a playbook for what we need to be prepared for. As far as training, it has affected us on another level that we can’t really measure.”
He explained the public’s feeling towards firefighters is something that has stayed pretty consistent over the years. “They don’t know us, they don’t know my political views, they don’t know my opinions on life, but they see the uniform and see the big shiny red engine, and they’re drawn to that. We immediately have a relationship that is positive, simply because of this. I think there were so many things back then that you could just let things go and think ‘oh right on, you’re an American or you’re my neighbor, cool, we’re friends,’ and the benefit of the doubt was given… I can’t think of a time when we weren’t treated like we were important, and we were making a difference.” He explained that he almost wished everyone could be treated like they were a firefighter.
Tyler said being a firefighter involves getting the job done and fixing the problem. Roxanne explained the danger inherent in their work stays in the back of their minds; it doesn’t have a place in the front of their minds. “Even as a mom, if you see your kid get hurt, you’re going to react and take care of that kid.” It isn’t until you look back on it later that you realize how close you were to a really bad situation.
Weber Remembers 9/11 Project
A great way to remember what happened that day is to attend the Weber Remembers 9/11 Project at the Weber County Fairgrounds. All the events are free! The exhibit is an interactive museum experience which uses 304 photo boards that were created to help visitors walk back in time. The time frame covers the late 1990s through the day of the terrorist attack and then into the response recovery time period.
There will be 19 television screens showing different media coverage and videos and 30 different areas of directional sound. The North parking lot will have an exhibit of emergency and military vehicles, where you can take pictures and talk with the professionals.
Live local entertainers will be featured on a stage at the west end of one of the exhibit halls. They need 400 volunteers over the course of the three days, so if you’re interested in helping, visit majorbrenttaylor.com.
Sept. 9th & 10th
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: 9/11 Exhibit Field Trips @ Weber County Fair Grounds
4 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Fairgrounds Exhibit Free & Open to the Public @ Weber County Fairgrounds. This includes the 9/11 Project Immersive Museum, community service exhibitors, “Touch a Truck” parking lot exhibit, and live entertainment.
6:46 a.m.: Early Morning Fire Memorials
@ Roy Fire Station No. 31
@ Riverdale Fire Station No. 41
@ Weber Fire Station No. 61 in Farr West
10 a.m.: Fairgrounds Exhibit Free & Open to the Public @ Weber County Fairgrounds. This includes the 9/11 Project Immersive Museum, community service exhibitors, “Touch a Truck” parking lot exhibit, and live entertainment.
Fire Ride Motorcycle Ride @ Salt Lake City to the Ogden Amphitheater fallenfirefightermemorial.org
12 p.m.: Firefighter Memorial Ceremony @ America’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial Park Next to the Ogden Amphitheater
8 p.m.: Fairground Exhibit Closes