CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Four years ago to the day, nine Charleston Firefighters perished in the greatest single loss of firefighters since the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001. Saturday, family and friends paid tribute to the 9 by unveiling a brand new memorial site.
The site is built where the Sofa Super Store once stood before it went up in flames June 18, 2007.
"I feel a lot different now," says Diane French. "Back in the beginning when I looked out here [all I] saw was rubble... and mud."
French lost her 27-year-old son Michael in the fire and has made multiple trips a year to the site but says the new memorial makes the trip a lot easier.
"I can't say it's the easiest thing to do," says French. "It's the hard thing to do but I feel that to honor my son it's something that I need to do... to make sure people remember them and the sacrifice they made here."
The site remembers the fallen firefighters through personalized plaques at the area their bodies we're found along with a flagpole in the middle of the large landscaped lot.
Firefighter James Regan says the difference the site makes for the families is clear.
"We can see it in their eyes and hear it in their stories," says Regan. "Each year we'll be out here and nothing will ever change that."