ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Just as 9-11 ushered in the war on terror, the attack on Pearl Harbor ushered in World War II 60 years earlier.
Just before the attack, as Alaska fortified its coast against the Japanese, four army fireman died as they attempted to put out a grass fire at Fort Ray, near Sitka.
"The grass fire spread to a dynamite and munitions dump, and the fire department responded,” said Mark Barker Chair of the Alaskan Fallen Firefighter Committee. “When they got there, the ammunition dump exploded killing all four firefighters, and two other military personnel."
Captain Francis Allen, Private Ralph Kirkbride, Private Frank Hayton, and Private Hedley Estabrook were added to memorial, bringing the total number of names to 30. The list includes civilian and military firefighters who have died in the line of duty in Alaska over the past several decades.
The ceremony drew a connection between two generations and two major attacks on America and how they affected the lives of Alaskans past and present.
“On December 8th of 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Franklin Roosevelt, stated, it was a date which will live in infamy,” said the President of the Alaska Fire Chief’s Association Rocky Ansell. “On September 11th, 2001, the United States Experienced what is being deemed our second day of infamy.”
The 9-11 attacks happened 11 years ago and thousands of miles away, but the sacrifice those three thousand people made that day is not being forgotten in Anchorage.
"Those firefighters ran into that building, they never knew that was going to happen,” said Barker of the 9-11 attacks. “Much like the firefighters that respond every day around this town, they respond to fires and accidents, just simply doing their job."
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