Stations opened to pay respects

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WIGAN’S fire crews will be marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by opening their doors to allow the public to pay their respects.

On Sunday fire stations across the whole of Greater Manchester will open to the public for a minutes silence at 1.46pm, the UK time when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the north tower of the World Trade Centre, the first of four hijacked planes used as missiles that day.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks including 343 firefighters and to commemorate the sacrifices made that day there will be a special ceremony at Leigh Fire Station as well as smaller ceremonies at the borough’s other three stations.

Borough Commander, Steve Sheridan said: “The 9/11 attack was one of the most major events in our lifetimes and it was one that everybody remembers where they were when the planes hit.

“As well as the thousands of members of the public, nearly 350 firefighters died as well as 100 police officers, so the very least we can do is hold a minute’s silence for these heroes.

“The events across the borough are also an opportunity for Wigan folk to go somewhere and pay their respects.

“This tragedy changed the world forever and has had an impact on the way we do everything nowadays.”

The doors of all fire stations across the borough will open to the public at 1pm on Sunday when there will be a small ceremony.

This will be followed by the chance for people to have a look around the stations and learn more about what the crews do on a day to day basis.

The borough’s main ceremony is being held at Leigh Fire Station and will be attended by Leigh MP Andy Burnham as well as Jim Maloney, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Manchester, who will be attending on behalf of the queen.

All are invited on the day which will see visitors and staff on parade by the flagpole at 1.40pm.

This will be followed by a few words of remembrance by the Reverend Norman Price and at 1.46pm, the time the first plane hit, that station’s bell will sound briefly.

Following the minute silence members of the public or local authorities will be invited to join staff for refreshments and a tour of the station and appliances.

After the events Mr Sheridan will be sending a collection of photographs from the day to the fire service in New York to show them the international support for the sacrifices made by its crews that day.