Chattanooga Fire Department commemorates the 20th anniversary of 9/11

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- TheChattanooga Fire Department and the City of Chattanooga held an anniversary commemoration for first responders across the region.

Hundreds of first responders gathered at Ross’ Saturday morning.

More than 300 firefighters were killed in the line of duty in 2001.

One FDNY firefighter who now lives in Chattanooga says that it was a sight that he will never forget.

Ron Schlitt, FDNY firefighter, says, “It was just the devastation. It was shocking and we were there every other day, just trying to do our jobs, for months. So, it was dark and depressing. But we got through it because that is what we signed up for. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being a fireman and it’s the best job on the planet.”

Many local officials spoke at the event about unity in the city.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly was one of those officials.

He says that 9/11 is an example of why first responders need higher pay in the city.

“Again, it’s a great day to remember the sacrifices that our first responders make. These are people that run towards trouble and not away from it. Obviously, we will see Tuesday if we get our budget increase passed to increase pay for firefighters and police which is long over due. I think that’s a good thing to think about today. They deserve every penny that they make and they are currently underpaid. So, takes are never fun but in this case they are going to a really good cause”, adds Mayor Kelly.

The city votes on the final budget Tuesday.

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