Remembering 9/11: Honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice

Martinette was in the Pentagon 19 years ago when one of the hijacked planes flew into the building at 9:37 a.m.
Updated: Sep. 11, 2020 at 6:32 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Nearly two decades after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, many still struggle to comprehend the heroics of the men and women who sacrificed their own lives, trying to save others.

“Sometimes the sacrifices they make are unexplainable," said Chief Buddy Martinette, WFD Fire Chief. "You can’t in your right mind stand here and say, ‘why would somebody risk their life for somebody they don’t know?’”

Martinette experienced the attack first hand. He was in the Pentagon when one of the hijacked planes flew into the building at 9:37 a.m.

While he’s thankful he made it out alive, he says what he’ll never forget is the first responders who jumped into action.

“At the end of the day, they were some of the most professional and technically skilled people that you’ll ever have a chance to work with and they performed remarkably," said Martinette. "I still say that was one of the most professionally run rescue missions this country has had. It was 11 days of perfection for the fire service and the urban search and rescue program.”

Jason Thompson was one of the speakers at WFD’s 9/11 ceremony Friday. He talked about his friend and fellow Marine, Clay Ludlum.

Ludlum took a boat from Connecticut to New York to provide his medical skills at Ground Zero. Ludlum later died from cancer caused by the fumes he inhaled that day but Thompson says his story will live on.

“There’s a certain mentality for a certain subset of people in this country," said Thompson. "The first responders, the policemen, firefighters, the military, they just field that call. A person that goes through adversity and finds a way to get there and actually makes a difference—what else could he be but a hero?”

And while the tiny details fade as the years go on, our local heroes say they’ll always make sure we all never forget 9/11 and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

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