"The estimates that we're working with are in the thousands," Giuliani said, when asked about the death toll. New York Fire Chief Pete Ganci, who spent more than 30 years with the New York Fire Department, and First Deputy Commissioner of the Fire Department William Feehan are among those who perished.
Talk to almost any firefighter, active or retired, or their relatives. They'll depict the job not only as a career, but as a second family. “It's hard to describe the special bond,” said Harold Schaitberger, president of International Association of Fire Fighters. “Because of the nature of the shift work, you spend as much time with your firefighter family as with your own family. You eat together, sleep together, you're in combat together.” The trade center inflicted combat-level fatalities -- one of every 38 members of the 11,400-strong fire department. The city lost twice as many firefighters in one morning as the U.S. military lost soldiers in combat throughout the Gulf War.
Among our people around the country, first there was disbelief at the magnitude of the event. Then it was horror, the recognition of the potential toll. Across this city, firehouses have been transformed into shrines as residents leave flowers and candles to honor the estimated 300 firefighters killed at the trade center. Americans have made similar gestures of support nationwide, but the heartache remains. The New York disaster has hammered home to many Americans how much bravery it takes for firefighters to do their jobs.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked and crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center toppling its twin 110-story towers. The deadly calamity was witnessed on television across the world as another plane slammed into the pentagon, and a fourth crashed outside Pittsburgh. The airliners alone had 266 people with no known survivors. The Pentagon has lost about 100 lives. Also reported is the loss of an estimated 30 police officers and 200 firefighters who were last seen running into the Towers as victims were running out for their lives. Despite the risk to their own lives, these men literally put their lives on the line with courage and determination to do what they did best.