Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh honors first responders, lives lost on 9/11

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The event took place on the 15 year anniversary of September 11th (WTVD)

Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh held its first-ever remembrance ceremony for the nearly 3,000 lives lost 15 years ago on September 11.

The ceremony featured live echo Taps music, which served as a reminder to guests who were first responders at Ground Zero.

"It just hits home," said Bud Connelly, Battalion Chief for the Wake Forest Fire Department. "It's just an amazing song that helps you reflect on memories, good and bad. The good times prior to 9/11. The good times after 911 and the solemnness of the day itself."

Gary Meade, a former Greenwich, NY Firefighter, will also never forget that day. He says the death of his colleagues and chaotic images of terror are still too difficult to discuss. "All across the whole world, firefighters are brothers-male or female," Meade said.

Sunday's event at Oakwood Cemetery also served as a reminder for a younger crop of first responders who were weren't old enough to remember what 9/11 means.

"We're trying to teach them to respect the day," Connelly explained. "It could be over in a moment. Enjoy each day and remember the fallen."

During the ceremony the names of 30 local law enforcement officers, fire and EMS personnel who died on duty were read.

"This day I think further expounds upon the need to recognize those folks who have clearly sacrificed everything," says Cassandra Deck-Brown, Chief of Raleigh Police.

Flags were also placed on gravesites of first responders who are buried at Oakwood Cemetery.

Read more: Local first responder recalls firsthand experience at Ground Zero
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Chris Gherardi was at Ground Zero in New York City

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