Vanguard established a memorial outside the Heath Academic Hall, which gave students the ability to pay respect in the form of remembrance. Some of Orange County’s fire fighters – Captain Bob Pignone, Paramedic Mark Martinez, and Engineer Matt Reis- stationed at Vanguard’s Fire Station 5, noticed the memorial and appreciated the amount of respect the students have shown to those who sacrificed through serving.
“The general public has really done a lot in the form of recognition. This Sunday, a lot of citizens from all over the city came and thanked us for serving,” Pignone said.
Each of these three men has his own special connection with the Sept.11 events. Although they did not experience any close and personal loss of their own, they all make trips of homage to New York every year either on St. Patrick’s Day or on Sept. 11 in order to pay their respects and be with those fighters who were affected the most.
“It’s a tradition to go there. Firemen from all over the nation show up to pay their respects,” Martinez said.
Pignone also recognizes the firefighters who lost their lives.
“Those who served gave the ultimate sacrifice. They are heroes who were just doing their jobs. 343 [NYFD engine lost in the line of duty on Sept.11] is engraved in our heads. The firefighters who went in there went to save lives,” Pignone said.
Martinez believes that the events of Sept.11 had a great impact on the way Americans live.
“It changed the way we do everything. The way we approach our jobs. When we go to different places. It draws attention to vulnerability and has made us all aware,” Martinez said.
All three fireman agree that the entire nation as a whole has been affected by Sept.11 and that it has brought our nation together.
“As a nation, we need to remember this. Do not forget,” Reis said.