'I can't forget': Surviving firefighter inspires at Palm Coast Elks' 9-11 ceremony

Of the 343 firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001, Rich Glover says he knew more than 50 of them.


Rich Glover
Rich Glover
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Updated 7:14 p.m. Sept. 11

Of the 343 firefighters who died that day, he knew more than 50 of them.

Rich Glover, a New York firefighter on Sept. 11, 2001, spoke at the Elks Lodge 2709 for its annual ceremony, surrounded by flags planted around the entrance to the lodge and the twisted-beam monument.

“Every day, you remember somebody different,” he said after the ceremony. "A song comes on the radio, and you start thinking about this guy, that guy.”

“We lost the heart of the fire department in New York City, and within a day or two, we regrouped, and we went back to work.”

RICH GLOVER

He was impressed with the first responders’ resiliency during the tragedy.

“We lost the heart of the fire department in New York City, and within a day or two, we regrouped, and we went back to work,” Glover recalled.

He said America can’t forget its history.

“See, I can’t forget,” he said. “These people that came out today — they haven’t forgotten.”

The history of Sept. 11 teaches us that police departments need to be supported and funded, to prevent terrorist attacks, Glover said.

 

'Covered with ash'

George Latimer Jr. worked for the Port Authority Police Department and was among the first responders on Sept. 11, 2001. Photos by Brian McMillan
George Latimer Jr. worked for the Port Authority Police Department and was among the first responders on Sept. 11, 2001. Photos by Brian McMillan

Another first responder on Sept. 11, 2001, attended the Elks ceremony: George Latimer Jr., who has lived in Palm Coast since 2016. He is a retired sergeant with the Port Authority Police Department.

“I was there for the rescue right after the first tower fell,” he said. “It was horrific. The ash on the ground was an inch or two thick. I saw two of our detectives sitting on a bench in a daze. People were covered with ash.”

 

Two lost

Lew Calobrisi is a former firefighter from New York City.
Lew Calobrisi is a former firefighter from New York City.

Lew Calobrisi joined the Fire Department of New York in 1961 and retired in 1993. He has lived in Palm Coast for 23 years, and on Sept. 11, 2001, he was visiting Long Island was on a plane, about to leave to return to Florida.

He later learned that firefighters from two engines he had worked on had died in the attack.

 

'The people who sacrificed'

Bill Hall, exalted ruler of the Elks Lodge 2709, said the lodge is dedicated to holding an annual ceremony.

“We lost a lot of good people that day,” he said. “And we will never forget. That’s what this is all about: not forgetting 9-11. Not forgetting the people who sacrificed their lives to save them.”

Jim Zimmerman, a member of the Citizen Observer Patrol, and Diane Scarnecchia attended the Elks ceremony.
Jim Zimmerman, a member of the Citizen Observer Patrol, and Diane Scarnecchia attended the Elks ceremony. "We feel for everybody that was there and all those who were lost," Zimmerman said. "A sad day in our country."
The Elks Lodge 2709 hosts a Sept. 11 ceremony every year.
The Elks Lodge 2709 hosts a Sept. 11 ceremony every year.

 

 

author

Brian McMillan

Brian McMillan and his wife, Hailey, bought the Observer in 2023. Before taking on his role as publisher, Brian was the editor from 2010 to 2022, winning numerous awards for his column writing, photography and journalism, from the Florida Press Association.

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