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Missoula residents, veterans gather to remember 9/11

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Sep 11 2013 10:35:59 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

NBC Montana marks this September 11 with as a time of remembrance.

It's been 12 years since the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people – a day this country will never forget.

Wednesday evening NBC Montana gathered with residents and veterans at the Memorial Rose Garden in Missoula to remember the lives the terrorist attacks claimed.

At the ceremony, called the “Never Forget” Service, we talked to Tom Zeigler, a battalion chief with the Missoula Rural Fire Department, and he told us about the friends he lost that day.  

Zeigler tells us he worked with New York firefighters every September for nearly nine years and on 9/11 he lost 27 colleagues who valiantly gave their lives to try and save others.

“I just feel it's my duty to make sure people knew who they were,” he tells NBC Montana.  “My friends that were lost, a lot of them were off-duty but of course they saw what happened and they rushed in to help.”

Zeigler tells us he will never forget his friends with New York's 'Hazmat 1' and 'Squad 288,' and he wants to make sure others don't forget the courage they showed that day.

“I feel good when I can read their names off and say ‘Hey, we haven't forgotten you,’” Zeigler says.   

Missoula veteran Gerry Christensen tells NBC Montana, for him, not only is September 11 about remembering those who were lost but also those who continue to serve and protect their country.

“I am very proud to see the ROTC people out here because those young people are going to be on active duty pretty soon and they will probably most likely be in harm’s way some place,” says Christensen.  “Fireman, law enforcement people, military people – it was the biggest attack on our country since Pearl Harbor.”

Christensen tells us, like Pearl Harbor the 9/11 attacks must always be remembered, and that's why he says he's proud to come out and pay tribute to the men, women and children killed that day.  

“We should never forget 9/11 ever, ever,” says Christensen.   

“There were a lot of people and civilians who perished, there were a bunch of people in the stairwells that perished, but I mean (my friends) they were doing their jobs,” says Zeigler.   

Zeigler tells NBC Montana although he lost 27 friends during the attacks he will make sure their memory lives forever as he reads their names every year, for all to hear.