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“We were Americans and we stood together,” Huntsville first-responders recall 9/11

"American citizens of all races, colors, religions, creeds, stepped up that day and became one," said native New Yorker Captain Mike Izzo.
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It’s a day that changed the world and how we live our lives now.

We all remember where we were on September 11th 17 years ago and for first-responders in Huntsville that means memories of horror immediately being turned into taking action.

First-responders held a ceremony honoring everyone who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks. They say that because Huntsville is such a hub for military activity they will always be prepared as they were that day. 

“If you look at that flag up there it’s got two sides to it,” said Chief Mac McFarlen with Huntsville Fire and Rescue. “We’ve got one side, it’s the history that we need to learn from. We’ve got another side that’s going forward. We all need to go forward together and be prepared for whatever this nation has to face.” 

On the day that altered history, native New Yorker Captain Mike Izzo was standing in the armory on Johnson Road, but his thoughts were far away.

“One of our very close friends and a family member, Joan Abrazino’s husband, Raymond York, who is also on the wall, was on duty that day,” Izzo said. “He was on light duty and he didn’t have to respond but he responded and we found out that one of the towers had collapsed on him during the rescue. So that was very near and dear and close to our hearts.”

Izzo, like many in the Rocket City, immediately began preparing, not knowing if his city was a target.

“We’re still sitting here in Huntsville, Alabama, thinking, ‘are we the next attack?'” McFarlen recalled.

The fire chief says they knew Huntsville was on a target list because of the arsenal. He honors those who died then by being prepared to save lives now.

Izzo believes every single person should be remembered.

“We always honor our public safety people but I never wanna forget the other people, just good American citizens of all races, colors, religions, creeds, stepped up that day and became one,” Izzo said. “If you ever watch the footage from that, you’ll see on that day we were one thing. We were Americans. And we stood together.”

Izzo actually helped install the flooring on the 44th floor of the World Trade Center. He was just a kid and his father was a carpenter.

People built the towers together and when they fell, together they brushed off dust and saved who they could.