9/11 Memories Still Fresh For Local People

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

The pictures only tell part of Kevin Towsley's story.

"I smelled the smells. I lived that devastation," he tells us.

Towsley was a 45-year-old firefighter back in 2001 when the towers went down. It didn't take long for him to decide to leave his family in Eaton Rapids and hop a bus to New York City to help. It was a decision that changed his life.

"The screaming is what I remember the most. Kids screaming, 'have you seen my dad? Have you seen my mom?' Holding their pictures..." Towsley says.

Towsley began working with crews out of Connecticut, then New York City. He believes he was one of the first firefighters from Michigan to head out there. At first, he was helping move steel; then, he was asked to help pick up body parts.

"The first thing I came across was a small lady's hand with a wedding ring on it. It just made you think, somewhere there's a husband without a wife, or kids without a mother," he says.

That devastation is not lost on some students from MSU. Though they were just children when 9/11 happened, they're holding a memorial Friday for those we lost.

"We have a field of just under 3,000 flags-- one for each who died that day," says organizer Andrew Walker.

Eighteen people from Michigan died in the attacks. Towsley says he thinks of them often.

"The overall amount of devastation, and what it did to people," he says.

He'll be reading names next year at the tenth anniversary memorial at Ground Zero. But those people, he says, are always in his heart.

There will be a ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday Sept. 11 in downtown Lansing at the 9/11 Memorial site. It's at Grand and Michigan Avenues, and the public is invited.

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