By Jim Schroeder
Two Havre firefighters are flying to New York City today for a memorial service to honor the 343 members of the New York Fire Department who died in the terrorist attack of 9/11.
The memorial Saturday will also honor seven other members of the department who've been killed since the last memorial service in October 2000.
"I don't think we can do anything that could be just or fitting. But I think this is as close as we can come," said Capt. Mike Anderson, who left with fire engineer Bob Bergren this morning.
Anderson and Bergren will each carry an American flag for one of the fallen firefighters during the service in Madison Square Garden. A firefighter will carry a flag for every firefighter who has died in New York since October 2000.
Nearly 90,000 people, including family members of the fallen firefighters, are expected to attend the ceremony, Anderson said.
Anderson and Bergren originally planned to attend the event in November, but it was postponed because of a dispute between the firefighters and New York City's government, Anderson said.
Anderson is representing the Montana State Firemen's Association and the 435 professional firefighters of Montana.
Bergren, a board member of the Montana AFL-CIO, is representing that labor group.
Both will be representing Local 601 of the International Association of Firefighters.
Besides attending the memorial services, Bergren and Anderson were invited by 12 firefighters from New York's Ladder 25 on the west side of upper Manhattan to attend the Giants football game on Sunday, a Broadway play and a sightseeing trip to New York's fire stations.
host to the 12 firefighters during a sightseeing trip in Montana in August. The New York firefighters were introduced at a special session of the Legislature in Helena.
Bergren and Anderson are also planning to see ground zero, the former site of the World Trade Center towers that collapsed on 9/11.
"I think it will be like approaching some hallowed piece of ground, like a battlefield or a cemetery," Bergren said.
Anderson said he expects to feel every kind of human emotion possible during the trip.