Firefighters Mark 9/11

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It stands near some of Lansing's most prominent landmarks; somehow, it still seems a bit off the beaten path.

The twisted metal beam in Wentworth Park, a piece of the World Trade Center, is Lansing's 9/11 memorial.

City firefighters plan to march there Monday morning to mark five years since that tragic day, a day that ended with more than 2,700 people dead, 343 of them firefighters.

"They knew what that risk was. They ran in there. I think a lot of them had to know they weren't coming out," Lansing Fire Capt. John Dyer said Sunday.

Dyer met one of those New York City firefighters who did make it out.

"Mike was one a truck company there watching it on TV and the tones went off to respond to it. They actually made it right there and were entering when it collapsed," Dyer said.

In their visit to Lansing five years ago, the New York firefighters brought t-shirts commemorating the day.

Dyer says he wears his every 9/11.

It's a reminder of the sacrifice of fellow firefighters: A sacrifice that became a learning experience for Lansing and other departments around the country. Communication between police and fire was problematic on 9/11.

Now, at least in Lansing, joint disaster response appears to have improved.

"Our fire and their police command are side-by-side so we know the same information is going out to both places," Dyer said.

City police officers may join firefighters for the march to the memorial Monday, a march of two professions that suffered great losses trying to prevent the loss of others.

"There's an old saying: You risk a little, you save a little, you risk a lot, save a lot," Dyer said.