PONTIAC (WWJ) — On this anniversary of 9/11, a ceremony took place in Pontiac, honoring those who lost their lives in the line of duty — not only in New York City 16 years ago, but also here at home.
The sounds of the Metro Detroit Police & Fire Pipes & Drums set the mood on a crisp night as sunset approached. Among those gathered in front of the Michigan Fallen Hero’s Memorial in Pontiac were the families of nine local police officers and firefighters who died over the past year as they worked to protect and serve.
Nine new names to be etched in stone on a wall that now numbers over 800.
“Telling the boys that their daddy wasn’t coming home was the hardest thing I had ever had to do in my entire life,” said JoAnn Steil, wife of fallen Detroit Police Sergeant Kenneth Steil, during Monday’s presentation.
Kenneth Steil died five days after he was shot last September while attempting to arrest a carjacking suspect.
“I thank God every day for those five days he had given us with Ken,” JoAnn Steil.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed and more than 6,000 others were wounded as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Thousands of firefighters and police officers from across the country reported to New York City to help save lives during the tragic incident.
Remembering local fallen hero’s on the 9/11 anniversary, police and fire department members side by side is only fitting in the mind of Oakland County Sheriff’s Mike Bouchard. He said after witnessing how the two worked together during 9/11, it was the right decision to honor both with this memorial.
“Originally I had envisioned trying to build a monument for police before 9/11 even happened,” Bouchard told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Jon Hewett. “Then after I served at ground zero and we all saw what they did together that day. They died together, they should be honored together.”