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Birmingham first responders remember 9/11

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2021 at 6:42 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham first responders said 9/11 led to a coordinated response to emergency situations and the need for people to vigilant.

But, as the country readies for the 20th anniversary there are memories and difficult emotions from that day. That day changed the way first responders react to emergency situations.

Bill Mayfield is now the Emergency Preparedness Manager for UAB Medicine. He handles any emergency event in UAB’s medical buildings. In 2001 Mayfield was in Colorado teaching ENTs when the World Trade Center buildings were attacked.

He got call from his son who was serving in the Navy. “I could hear alarms in background. He said Dad something bad has happened,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said the attack became real for him at that moment knowing his son was activated to go into harm’s way. Later Mayfield learned two firefighters he knew were in the buildings that fell.

Challenge Coins were made for organizations including the military, and law enforcement. Mayfield carried a coin on the day of the attack. Mayfield said, “It says standing ready to help my fellow man. It’s compassion and commitment and that is the message for tomorrow. That is what we all need to remember.”

Chris Tate with the Jefferson County EMA was a high school senior at Hoover High School 20 years ago. He was also in the marching band which later marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade after the attack. “The towers, piles were still smoking. That was a couple months out. There was a glow from the area as the workers were working. So yeah, that hits home,” Tate said.

Tate said he was inspired to try and join the Marines. He later became a volunteer firefighter and then joined emergency management all because of 9/11.

Both men said Saturday should remind every American of the need to be vigilant and to remember those who rushed into those buildings to help.

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