A first responder remembers 9-11

This week I’m dedicating this space to your memories of 9-11. Today, we hear from a first responder from Harlan. Willie Galloway is a First Lieutenant in the Harlan County Rescue Squad. Ten years ago he was in high school.

This week I’m dedicating this space to your memories of 9-11.

Today, we hear from a First Responder from Harlan.  Willie Galloway is a First Lieutenant in the Harlan County Rescue Squad.  Ten years ago he was in high school.



I was coming back from the restroom at Harlan High School and saw Coach JB Donahue in the hall outside his classroom. I greeted him with my normal "What’s up Coach" and then he hit me with the news. I went back to my class and told Mrs. Sturgill to turn the TV on, she kinda laughed and said, "You know we can't do that." I then told her the gruesome reason I had made the request. She was in shock at the news and agreed to allow her class to view this history in progress.




When the TV turned on, there was the twin towers standing like rocks, only one was on fire. It wasn't long at all till the second plane showed up in the background and hit the other structure. I sat there in a classroom, with my classmates, in total silence. We were all mortified at the events that were taking place on the screen in front of us. I was a member of the Loyall Fire Department at the time of the attack and signed myself out of school and went to City Hall. I knew that there wasn't anything that I could do for the poor souls that were living a hell on earth at what was later called "Ground Zero." I knew though, what I felt and I spent the rest of the day up into the late night there with Mayor Charles Wattenberger, City Treasurer Dennis Doan, City Clerk Ernestine Lay, and the Police Chief at the time, Marvin Lipfird. This was my "extended" family, my brothers in the fire service.






We all had the same feelings floating through our heads that day, we all felt so helpless. My dad, who ran a local service station, called my cell phone and said that if we needed any fuel that we had better get it because everyone was panicking. He told us that they would probably run out before the days end. So I took our fire engines and topped them off and was amazed at the pure fear that people had this quick, this far away.



We had just purchased a fire engine from St. James Fire Department, in St. James, New York. This department had volunteer members just as we did. One of their members was a Fireman for the City of New York, as his profession. He was killed in the line of duty that day at the twin towers. His ladder company's truck was destroyed as well. As a result they sent the engine we had purchased to stand in as a temporary replacement for his company's response unit. At Loyall we had no problem with this, it finally let us feel that we were finally able to help our Brothers in a time of need. But that day is forever singed into my memory as a day I truly felt helpless.

1Lt Willie Galloway
Harlan Co. Rescue Squad





There is still time for you to share your thoughts and prayers for those who lost family and friends in the attack.

Do you have any photos of the 9-11 site or memorial? 

Were you in New York City or Washington DC on that day?  Were you flying?  Did you go to New York or Washington to help in recovery efforts?

How has 9-11 changed your life?

Send us your memories in 500 words of less to newsrelease@wymtnews.com Please include your name and contact information (email and/or phone number). This information is not for publication.

I’ll use some of your stories here on the blog and some on WYMT Mountain News at Six.

Click here for more information on the 9-11 Memorial


Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana



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WYMT Mountain News
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