Firefighters love tradition and a new one started Wednesday at the Underhill Jericho Fire Department-- a tribute to the 343 firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001.
"Those firefighters went into a building when everyone else was coming out and that's what firefighters do," said Randy Clark, the honorary fire chief.
"Finally we have something that is a real tribute to those people who were so brave," said Lt. Johannes Jobst of the Underhill Jericho Fire Dept.
The 1955 siren that was once mounted on top of the station is now on top of a memorial. It sounded at 9:59 a.m. and 10:28 a.m. Wednesday, the times when the towers fell at the World Trade Center in New York City.
For Capt. Harry Schoppmann, the sirens hit closer to home. He was working in New York City during the Sept. 11 attacks.
"It just wasn't real, the stuff I saw," Schoppmann said. "It felt like I was on a movie scene; it just didn't feel real."
Schoppmann was a volunteer firefighter on Long Island and on the waiting list for a job at the New York Fire Department. He helped with cleanup in the weeks after the attacks and eventually worked for FDNY for 5 years.
"I really hope I never see or hear anything like that in my lifetime," he said. "I've been doing this for 20 years and that was by far 100 times worse than anything I've ever seen."
Schoppmann says there are others who need to be recognized. His ex-captain and friend died recently after a 6-year battle with cancer related to his extensive work at ground zero in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
"He was there day of and off and on, got sick right away and fought that battle for 10 years," Schoppmann said. "His name is Daniel Levy and he just passed away earlier this year."
Taking a moment to remember, honor and thank.
"Let us never forget-- that's what the sign says and we will never forget that," Clark said.
"This day to me is to keep the memory that those guys didn't just give their life for nothing; they were doing the right thing," Schoppmann said.
A new tradition and tribute that will continue forever at the Underhill Jericho Fire Department.
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