Texas Task Force Members Reflect On Sept. 11, 2001 Deployment

By: Sylvia Villarreal Email
By: Sylvia Villarreal Email

Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of Texas Task Force One's deployment to New York City, following the attack on America on September 11.

When New York city's Twin Towers collapsed, after being struck by two planes, thousands of people were killed.

As the country watched the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack on television, emergency responders from across the nation made their way to New York to help a city under attack.

When they arrived, they found the devastation at Ground Zero was worse than they expected. Bob McKee, Director of Emergency Response & Rescue with Texas Task Force 1 says, "The first trip into New York we were all on a bus, the FEMA responders and when we got there, just seeing again the smoke, the dismay, the shock and disbelief, I think on everyone and for me, the thing that really brought it home was that these two towers collapsed in a very small space, that as big as New York City is in our minds and our hearts, that these two buildings came down in a very confined area and it was just again disbelief."

For McKee's fellow task force member, Denise Corliss, the sentiment was the same, "I remember thinking that it was much bigger in person and more enormous in person that what you saw on TV."

Corliss travelled to New York with her search dog, Brittney, a Golden Retriever. The pair worked 12-hour shifts and unfortunately did not find any survivors and remembers that some of those searching alongside her were looking for friends and family missing beneath tons of rubble.

"we would pass some family members that were searching or had flyers up for their loved ones, but when we were at the pile, what we ran into was fellow firefighters that were missing their loved ones, their brothers or sisters and I was taken aback by how many of them had family members that were lost in the pile."

For McKee and Corliss the experience has been unforgettable and each says they are proud to have been able to go to New York ten years ago.

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