By Emily Matson
A local man has taken it upon himself to make sure a part of 9/11 history, connected to the Pentagon, is never forgotten.
Bill Stewart, of Harborcreek, has launched a campaign to raise funds to refurbish a massive fire truck, and put it in a place where people can see it, appreciate it, and remember for years to come.
Stewart spent nearly four decades in the fire service.
He was in New York City on September 10th, 2001, meeting with airport firefighters in the training division, “I remember the controller saying, ‘Look at that skyline!’ It was beautiful, the 10th was just as pretty of a day as the 11th, beautiful blue skies.”
The next day, the fire fighters Steward spent that beautiful day with, “The three of them went downtown and never got to go home.”
And that is one of the reasons why Stewart is taking it upon himself to make sure we never forget, “20 years, it seems sometimes to me, like yesterday.”
Stewart is spearheading a project to refurbish an airport fire truck and recognize the airport fire fighters who responded to the Pentagon on September 11th.
The truck was actually sold to Canada, they were going to scrap it, when a U.S. company bought it.
After some convincing, Stewart got the Smithsonian Museum to get on board. They agreed to display the massive piece of 9/11 history at the Smithsonian Air and Space Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, in Virginia.
Only thing, Stewart has to raise the money to refurbish it, and get it there, “This needs to be, it can’t be forgotten. And with this truck going into the museum, first of all, kids are going to absolutely love it because it’s huge. And it’s going to cause people to remember, it’s going to force them not to forget because that’s what it all about.”
Not to forget the first responders, specifically the airport fire fighters who are often overlooked.
To not ever forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice not only that day, but the men and women who will never be the same, “The guys that I used to work with, it’s almost as though something sucked the life out of them, and I know what it is, it was that call that day. It sucks the life out of you. To see what they saw, and to have to go through what they went thorough, and some of the stories that they told me about the heroes, and this truck isn’t just for the fire fighters it was for the people in the building that day also.”
Stewart needs to raise somewhere between $250,000 and $300,000 to bring the fire truck to the Smithsonian Museum. To learn more or contribute towards his efforts, you’re asked to please visit the website.