It's been a long road back for the New York City Fire Department, which was shaken to the core by its losses on September 11th. Even as it's rebuilt, it has continued to remember. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
New York City firefighters remembered their 343 lost brothers Friday.
When the Twin Towers came down eight years ago, the huge loss devastated the department.
Like fire houses around the city, Engine 7, Ladder 1 on Duane Street, just blocks from the World Trade Center site held moments of silence and said prayers while saluting those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"I'm still emotional about it eight years later. The prayers change every year, but the feelings don't," said Lieutenant Michael Vindigni of Ladder 1. "We all lost friends, co-workers, and some people lost family."
The firefighters of Engine 7, Ladder 1 were among the first rescuers to respond to the terror attacks. Many of them went in and out of the Twin Towers several times. And fortunately, none of them lost their lives.
"We believe that the Almighty asks us to be human helpers with him as we seek to make this a better world for all people," said Vindigni during the service.
But 25 firemen from Battalion 1, the command of fire houses in Lower Manhattan, did die.
"Those are the 25 guys we worked with for many years," said retired firefighter Steve Olsen of Ladder 1. "They were close friends, good friends, and we lost them. It is very tough. It is a calling for me to come back here every September 11th."
The fire commissioner says it is important to mark the day.
"Everybody grieves in their own way, everybody remembers in their own way," said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. "I think the important thing is that we never let go of that. We never stop remembering. It's being called a 'Day of Service and Remembrance' and that is the new designation for 9/11. Firefighters are always committed to service we just want to make sure everyone else remembers."
Active and retired members say they will never forget.
"I've changed my whole life since 9/11," Olsen said. "My whole life has changed like everyone else's life has changed. I appreciate my days much more, I appreciate my family much more. You never know when know everything will be taken away from you."