New York firefighter in Prague pays respects to colleagues who died on 9/11

James Manahan, a New York firefighter and first responder during 9/11, took part in a commemorative event at the 9/11 memorial in Prague yesterday.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 12.09.2021 09:55 (updated on 12.09.2021)

New York firefighter James Manahan remembered his fellow officers who died when intervening, like himself, on the scene of collapse of the World Trade Center 20 years ago at a commemorative event in Prague on Saturday.

The event, at the memorial to victims of the 9/11 attack at Prague's Kampa Island, was attended by representatives of the U.S. embassy, Prague City Hall, and Czech fire and medical rescue squads.

A total of 343 firefighters died during the World Trade Center intervention itself, and hundreds died later due to consequences from the rescue efforts. The 9/11 attacks claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

Manahan said he had been on duty on that day, being a member of the fire brigade in New York's Queens neighborhood, and arrived at the scene in Lower Manhattan shortly after the second tower had collapsed.

At the beginning, he spent 36 straight hours on the scene of the attack. After a break, he returned to Manhattan and alternated in rescue operations with fellow officers.

After the towers fell, everything became grey and colors disappeared as everything was covered in dust, Manahan said. He added that even now, 20 years later, rescuers can remember the sounds, images, smells, emotions, and memories linked to the World Trade Center collapse.

Manahan said the firefighters rescued several people immediately after the towers fell, but the situation did not look good the next day as they continued in their search for survivors.

In the two following days, it was mentally demanding to see the rising lists of missing people. In addition, the names on the list often changed. Manahan, too, noted that he met someone whose name was previously on the list.

In addition to the firefighters who perished during the rescue attempts, more than 200 died later from consequences of the event. Over the following 20 years, diseases resulting from the rescue efforts appeared in more than 10,000 first responders, and hundreds of them unfortunately died, Manahan said.

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Manahan added that he felt moved to see the 9/11 memorial in Prague. Even though he has seen a number of other 9/11 memorials, mainly in the USA, he found it just as moving to see the traditional helm of a New York firefighter decorate a memorial in a European city.

Detail of the Sept. 11 memorial at Kampa. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Detail of the Sept. 11 memorial at Kampa. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
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