Retired Watertown firefighter rings bell for 9/11′s fallen firefighters

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 4:03 PM EDT
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TOWN OF HOUNSFIELD, New York (WWNY) - For the last 20 years, a retired Watertown fire captain has rung a bell 343 times on the morning of September 11.

“343 are the number of firefighters that died the day the towers came down,” said Mike Corbett.

Corbett begins ringing the bell on his back porch at 9:58 a.m., the moment the first of the two World Trade Center towers fell.

“I wanted to make sure that I would always remember what happened and the loss that day,” he said.

A small group of friends and family are there, including retired battalion chief Ed Brown. Corbett and Brown both traveled to Ground Zero to help in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

“We stepped off the bus and it was just hard to believe what you could see. Looking around, it looked like a movie scene. I mean there was This year, Corbett tolled the bell an extra two times

“The extra one is for all the other civilians, military, fire department, police that died that day or have died since,” he said.

The 345th ring was for retired Watertown battalion chief Pat Wiley. Wiley joined Corbett and Brown traveling to Ground Zero in 2001. He passed away in December.

“Brings it all back, and you picture the stuff that you experienced when you were down there. You watch it on the news again, and it’s just kind of a solemn day for us,” said Brown.

A total of 2,977 people lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks.