Did you know that Key West has a memorial honoring the 9/11 New York firefighters who died on that tragic day? The memorial stands about 5′ tall upon an 8 pointed fireman’s cross complete 9-11-01 and FDNY cut into it. This incredible moving memorial is made from a piece of steel recovered from the World Trade Center’s Twin Tower’s debris. Look close and you’ll actually see dents along with nuts & bolts imbedded into the steel due to extreme heat and pressure.
Have you ever wondered where the term ‘Firefighters’ came from? History lesson part#1: During the Holy Crusades defenders of a walled city were struck by glass bombs containing a highly flammable liquid. When they became saturated, the attackers would hurl a torch into their midst. Hundreds were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths. These first heroic ‘Firefighters’ were awarded a cross similar to the one shown below! And now you know the rest of the story! 🙂
History lesson part#2: The cross is eight-pointed and has the form of four “V”-shaped elements joined together at their tips, so that each arm has two points. Its design is based on crosses used since the First Crusade and is a symbol of protection. It means that the firefighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow-man. Since the Knights lived on a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.
History lesson part#3: Notice that memorial is broken off at an angle at the top, this represents lives cut short… an unfinished life. Pictured below is an aviator’s grave stone with a broken propeller symbolizing the same meaning of his life being cut short before his time.
You can come and pay your respects to this touching symbol of our Country’s most horrific tragedy located at 1600 N. Roosevelt Boulevard in front of the entrance to the Key West Fire Department main office.