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Sept. 11: 'It Changed My Life'

DeKalb firefighter says 9/11 should never be forgotten and serve as catalyst for everyone to give of themselves to improver their local communities

As someone who lost distant relatives in the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, Kyle Bosdell has a direct connection that forever links him to that day.

"It's one of those days you can pretty much mark your life by," he said.

But it there's a different connection through his other family — the family of firefighters who risk their lives daily to save others.

It's that link to the 343 firemen and women who died in those attacks, that Bosdell, a 12-year DeKalb County firefighter, says really helps place him in the towers that day.

"In my mind, I can remember the exact moment when the North Tower fell and we all — sitting in my fire station, actually — we all shook our heads. We all knew so many firefighters lost their lives at that very moment," Bosdell said.

The loss of life wasn't some faraway event. He and his fellow firefighters in the station that day experienced it and felt it in a way few others could.

"We knew where they were," he said. "We weren't standing outside, we weren't sitting at the door telling people 'come on, let's get out.' We were at the 88th floor when that building fell."

Ten years later, Bosdell, who co-owns the restaurant in East Atlanta Village with two other firefighters, says there are two things that have remained with him.

The first, he said, is that it made him realize the value of what he is doing.

“It really put my job in perspective. Being young at the time, you think, ‘aw this is fun, it’s exciting, it’s adrenaline, it’s this and that,’ but it really puts into perspective what we do every day,” he said. “It was a really big deal for me; it changed my life.”

The second lesson he takes away from that day is everyone has a part in and a duty to making their local community better.

It’s one of the reasons that DeKalb fire and law enforcement personnel are seeking to erect in front of public safety headquarters in Tucker.

The project is expected to cost $30,000 and any funds left over will go toward the Stevenson Fund, which benefits firefighters who may need help following an unforeseen event or circumstance, and the William E. Peacock Jr. Foundation, which aids the families of fallen police officers.

"We want to really make sure everybody doesn’t forget," he said.

Those firefighters who sacrificed their lives for others underscores a lesson for all of us who are here and remember a decade later, he said.

That's doing something in whatever way each one of us can to improve our communities.

"Making a difference in our community is the most important thing anybody can do."

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