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Meridian firefighters won't forget New York's Rescue 1

By Staff
MEMORIAL Jimmy Hoffer, Meridian Fire Department public relations officer, ties a yellow ribbon on the Memory Tree. The ribbon was signed by firefighters at New York's Rescue 1; it also has pictures of two firefighters whose funerals took place Monday. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Nov. 11, 2001
A yellow ribbon signed by New York firefighters hangs on Meridian's Memory Tree, a memorial to the hundreds killed in the line of duty after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The ribbon was signed by firefighters at New York's Rescue 1, which lost 11 men. It also bears the name of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the faces of two firefighters whose funerals took place Monday.
And it was brought back by Meridian firefighters who traveled to New York last week to deliver nearly $25,000 in donations and gifts to families of firefighters killed in the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.
Jimmy Hoffer, Meridian Fire Department public information officer, said he still is emotionally reeling from his visit to New York. Hoffer joined firefighter Gerald Mabry and Fire Chief Bunky Partridge on the trip.
Hoffer said he was saddened to see New York sites closed, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. He was also surprised at the magnitude of destruction at the former site of the World Trade Center.
Partridge said thoughts of New York have been on his mind since he returned from the five-day trip Tuesday.
Partridge's wife, Dianne, who also went on the trip, echoed her husband.
Mabry said he has been comforted by the Meridian relief effort.
The yellow ribbon placed on the Memory Tree will find a permanent home in the Memory Tree Museum, said founder Lou Pennebaker.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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