Retired firefighter shares 9/11 lessons

“Never forget” are the words we live by when we remember the attacks of September 11th, 2001. And a retired fireman is using his memories to teach local students who were born after 9/11.
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 8:44 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - This past weekend marked 21 years since the 9/11 attacks in New York City, and here in Toledo, students are learning about the first-hand experiences of a firefighter who headed to the scene.

Tom Eisel is a retired Deputy Chief for Sylvania Township Fire. He spent Tuesday morning talking with social studies students at Notre Dame Academy about his experience of visiting the rubble of the 9/11 attacks − something those students will only learn about in textbooks, and lessons like this.

Marley Dupree, a freshman at Notre Dame Academy, told 13abc she wasn’t alive at the time.

“Hearing him talk about it, and how everything changed, and everything causes and effects it had on everybody, even people who weren’t involved, it’s really eye-opening,” Dupree said.

On September 11th 2001, Eisel was a firefighter in Sylvania Township.

“We wanted to go to Ground Zero,” he told 13abc. “The firefighters have a brotherhood, and we knew there were a lot of firefighters who needed our support.”

He and a group of local firefighters went to New York City in November.

“It was very emotional,” said Eisel. “We knew that when we got there, we knew what we would be seeing. We were just glad to be there, but it was hard.”

21 years later, he’s teaching students here at home about his experience.

Vaibhavi Goyal, a junior at Notre Dame Academy, said she learned something new from this presentation: “I never realized that there were actually multiple planes that had the intentions of attacking.”

Although Eisel is teaching an important history lesson, there’s one thing that can’t be taught: the feelings of his experience that will stay with him forever. A prominent memory for Eisel is the funeral of a New York City firefighter.

“I can still remember Lt. Halloran’s wife getting out of the limousine,” he said, “and all of the small children walking next to her. That was emotional, very emotional.”

Tuesday marks the ninth time that Eisel has shared his experience with students at Notre Dame Academy.

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