Salisbury Fire Department hosts remembrance ceremony for first responders

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, September 12, 2023

SALISBURY — On the morning of Sept. 11, the Salisbury Fire Department hosted a public remembrance ceremony at 1603 South Main St. “to pay tribute to first responders and citizens who lost their lives on 9/11.” It also served to honor the Rowan County first responders who lost their lives in the past year.

The fire department organizes the event every year. Many firefighters and city officials arrived to pay their respects. Salisbury Fire Chief Bob Parnell says it used as a time to look back on that fateful day 22 years ago and its lasting effects on people in the department. Parnell remembers that day well and the roller coaster of emotions that plagued him.

“I was right here at the Salisbury Fire Department, Fire Station 1 in the fire chief’s office. I wasn’t the chief, but I was in the chief’s office,” Parnell said. “For a plane to hit a super high rise in the middle of New York City, though not very common, we thought it was an accident. Then of course, when the second one hit, everybody knew that it was intentional.”

During the ceremony, Rev. Mark Conforti read aloud the names of the Rowan County first responders who have died in the line of duty since last year. It can be trying for those in the department to lose people on the job, but safety has always been Parnell’s main priority when it comes to the firefighters he’s responsible for.

“I don’t look it as sending people into their demise, I look at it as sending people in to help other people,” Parnell said.