PORTLAND, Ore. -- On Sunday, Portland firefighters will hold an 11 a.m. ceremony to remember those killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
It will be on the Eastbank Esplanade near Fire Station 21— the future site of the David Campbell Memorial.
In 1911, Portland Fire Chief Campbell died saving some of his men who were trapped in the Union Oil fire on Southeast Water Avenue. To date, 73 Portland firefighters have died in the line of duty or from duty-related illnesses.
Plans for the memorial include slender poles representing the lines of duty, topped with bright lights and standing tall along the Eastbank Esplanade. It’s the kind of tribute firefighters in Portland say they’ve long waited for.
“We need to connect ourselves with the people that have sacrificed before us,” said Portland firefighter Travis Chipman. “It's really important for us to not forget about our brothers and sisters who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty.”
It's why Chipman and his fellow Portland firefighters have given $100,000 of their own money toward building the memorial. The final cost is estimated to be around $750,000.
Those who attend Sunday’s ceremony will learn more about the memorial and how they can contribute.
“It's been so long you know, I think a lot of people have forgotten what’s happened,” Portland Fire Lt. Neil Martin said of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Martin and three other Portland firefighters flew to New York just days after 9-11. They went to join their friend, New York fireman Billy Quick. Martin said they figured they could help the families of New York firefighters.
“You know whatever they needed—picking up kids from school, grocery shopping, anything,” said Martin. “But when we got there, Billy said ‘no, you guys are firefighters, you're going to the pile.’”
Martin keeps a picture of the group with Quick in his locker, so he can see him every day. Nearly nine years after the attacks, Quick died of lung disease caused by sifting toxic dust at Ground Zero.
“It's just kind of an important remembrance of something we should never forget,” said Martin.
For Billy Quick on the East Coast, Chief Campbell on the West Coast and the countless other fallen firefighters in between, Chipman said he hopes others will agree that their sacrifice warrants a place where they can all be remembered.
“We need to reconnect with our community and say, ‘Hey, this is what they did, this is what we do. Let's come together and just remember together.’”
Donations to the David Campbell Memorial fund are tax deductible. Click here if you’d like to contribute.