DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — A 1951 Mack fire truck is currently housed at Deerfield Beach Fire Rescue Station No. 1. It is part of the New York City Fire Department Fire Family Foundation. Engine 343 -- the "Engine Company for the Fallen" -- honors the 343 New York firefighters who died in the line of duty during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Twenty years later, many firefighters like Broward County fire Capt. Christopher Boyer are reflecting on the fateful events of that day.
"At the time, my dad was a fireman in Sunrise, so he was on shift when it happened, when it went down," Boyer said. "A lot of older guys at our fire department -- some that are still here, some that are retired -- were on Florida Task Force 2. They went to New York after the collapse to find the survivors and dig up the firemen that we lost."
The apparatus is often used in parades and memorial events. It has all the pictures of the firefighters and their names and squad numbers.
"For me, being a second-generation fireman is just carrying on that pride, duty and honor, keeping their memory alive and never forget those guys' names and the service and sacrifice they did," Boyer said.
Some community members are already showing their appreciation for first responders. Happy & Healthy Products in Boca Raton has continued its annual tradition in the years since 9/11 of handing out cold sweets.
"We're so conscious of the sacrifice made," Linda Kamm, president of Happy & Healthy Products, said. "We wanted to show our appreciation for the sacrifices that the firefighters and policemen make all the time without any recognition pretty much, and so we started to take our fruit bars to the fire stations."
Boyer said it's the little things that often mean the most.
"Sometimes, you know, people call just to be picked up in the middle of the night and just a simple gesture saying 'thank you' means a lot to us," Boyer said.