Firefighters band together for 9/11 Silent Walk

VIDEO: Firefighters commemorate 9/11 in march across Ravenel Bridge

The words of "brotherhood" and "family" were echoed by firefighters Friday morning, gathered at Mount Pleasant's Memorial Park for the opening ceremony of the 9/11 Silent Walk.

"The fire service is a family," Christie Jones, rescue firefighter for Dorchester County, said. "It's important we stay together as a family and support one another."

Jones said they lost some of those family members in 9/11, during attempts to help those trapped inside the towers.  Such service is the standard firefighters live up to, she added.  

"They keep saying 'never forget.' I don't know that we could ever forget what happened," Robert Wagenbrenner, assistant chief of Mount Pleasant Fire Department, said to the hundreds gathered.  "What you're doing today, remembering 343 firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice, is something we can never stop doing."

Firefighters from 125 departments across the country joined Charleston's own for the walk, which entailed trekking more than five miles across the Ravenel Bridge and back.

Firefighters suited up in full gear to walk, some carrying an excess of 60 pounds. But firefighter M.J. Chaddick says it doesn't compare to going into a burning building.

"I'm walking across a bridge. Those gentlemen went into the towers," Chaddick said. He joined Friday's walk accompanied by fellow firefighters from Horry County.

Chaddick was one of the 343 firefighters who wore a lanyard with a photo of one of the 343 fallen New York firefighters.

"It's kind of surreal," Chaddick said. "Just knowing this gentleman Kenneth Kumpel went in to his job and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I hope his family is aware that we still care for Kenneth, and he'll never be forgotten."

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