Dixfield firefighter Franklyn MacDonald, 20, rushes to put on his gear Friday morning to commemorate the 343 New York City firefighters who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. MacDonald completed 14 trips up and down the four stories of the Greater Rumford Community Center, about equal to the 2,226 steps in the original 110-story Twin Towers. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — A 20-year-old volunteer firefighter Friday honored the 343 members of the New York City Fire Department who perished in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

Franklyn MacDonald of Dixfield completed 14 trips up and down the four stories of the Greater Rumford Community Center, about equal to the 2,226 steps in the original 110-story Twin Towers. As he climbed he listened to recordings of actual radio traffic on that day when Islamic terrorists hijacked U.S. commercial airliners and flew them into the towers.

“I want to feel that as close as possible,” the Dixfield Fire Co. member said.

At 8:45 a.m., the exact time the first plane struck the North Tower, MacDonald rushed to put on his firefighting gear and start the climb. His mother, Laurie Taylor of Dixfield, tracked his progress.

MacDonald said he was inspired by the bravery of the firefighters, a profession he studied in the Vocational Regional 9 fire science program and that led him to become a junior firefighter with the Dixfield Fire Co.

“They gave everything,” he said. “They didn’t know what was going to happen. That day, members that had retired years ago, grabbed old gear and went down to the World Trade Center and helped. Fathers, sons, everybody came.”

A total of 2,977 people died and 25,000 were injured in the attacks, which included hijacked planes crashing in Pennsylvania and into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

A visit to the original World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan also had an impact on him, MacDonald said.

“I had to see for myself what it looked like,” he said.

He also went to One World Trade Center, also called the Freedom Tower, which replaced the Twin Towers and opened in 2014.

“It’s tall,” he said.

It stands at 1,776 feet, including the spire. It compares to the North and South Towers, which were more than 1,360 feet tall. The Freedom Tower opened in November 2014.

Franklyn MacDonald, a volunteer firefighter with the Dixfield Fire Co., climbs stairs in the four-story Greater Rumford Community Center on Friday to commemorate the 343 New York City firefighters who died trying to save others in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. The 14 trips up and down the town building was about equal to the 2,226 steps to the 110 stories of the original World Trade Center. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

 

 

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