First responders relive 9/11

By Victoria

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Laurie Rose has never shared her story. It's too tough, too personal, too painful. But 10 years after the terrorist attacks, her teenage daughter convinced her she should.

So, the North Charleston Fire Captain took a deep breath as she stood before hundreds of people at the Performing Arts Center during a memorial service honoring first responders.

"I went to the truck, I paused for what felt like forever. I couldn't put my gear on. The thing I've done a million times over and over again," she said.

Laurie was just a rookie when she got the call that the Pentagon had been attacked. There had been a fiery crash. Her job-- identify body parts.

"You know we didn't lose any of our firemen in 9/11 at the Pentagon, thank goodness. But I saw really good people who were very dedicated to their job who could never do it again."

Brain Womble went to work that day as well. He's an FBI agent. His task-- track down the terrorists.

"One of the early leads was going through their luggage that they didn't expect to be found, and it had a number of early clues," he said.

Womble searched suitcases, rental cars and hotels. He conducted all kinds of interviews. His mission-- find the accomplices and make sure such an attack on our nation never happens again.

"Remaining vigilant in that mission is the best way we can honor the victims of 9/11," he said.

Even in the crowd, there were stories to tell. Father Bob Schwarz now lives in Summerville and works as a police chaplain. But during the terrorist attacks, he lived in New York, and that day was called out to the World Trade Center to help families and police.

"We watched the administrators, most of them older, who were digging with their hands through the pile trying to locate survivors," he said.

"And they're still holding out hope. You know one of the things that drove us through those many days of that experience was hope."

Hope-- it's why local first responders held Friday's memorial service. Hope that the sacrifices made in the face of danger are not forgotten.

"It's not just what I do, it's who I am," says Laurie Rose.

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