On Sept. 11, 2001, the trajectory of the United States of America changed forever following the devastating terrorist attacks that killed thousands.

Twenty years later, the Atlanta History Center is highlighting the experiences of the first responders of Sept. 11 in its temporary exhibit “Responding Heroes: Remembering September 11, 2001.”

Beyond those who lost their lives on the day, the first responders who charged into the towers to evacuate civilians, render aid and dig through rubble to rescue survivors continue to experience painful physical and mental health effects.

Premiering at Atlanta History Center from Sept. 10, 2021 to Oct. 17, “Responding Heroes” focuses on the experiences and memories of first responders, including firefighters, paramedics and police officers. The National EMS Museum curated the exhibition for this anniversary showing in Atlanta.

“I spent many hours riding with an Engine Company in the 18th Battalion in the Bronx early in my career,” President of The National EMS Museum Dr. Richard A. Clinchy recalls. “New York City was a home away from home, and I made lifelong friendships during my time in the city. When the attacks occurred, like many responders, my first call was to my Disaster Medical Response team: ‘When do we leave?’”

“It’s been 20 years since that fateful day and I am honored that we could team up with the Atlanta History Center to ensure the voices of my friends and colleagues continue to live on through exhibitions like Responding Heroes,” Clinchy said. “Through this partnership we are able to fulfill our promise to NEVER FORGET and continue to tell the story of heroism and selfless devotion of those who responded on September 11th.”

The exhibition features original artwork detailing the firsthand memories of paramedics and firefighters who responded to the attacks, as well as a timeline of the day’s events and reflection space for visitors.

“This exhibition is unique. It was created specifically to be shown at Atlanta History Center, and focuses on the people who risked their lives to save others,” Chief Mission Officer Michael Rose said. “The exhibition offers a chance for guests to reflect and honor everyone affected by this tragedy.”

In addition to the physical exhibition, guests are also invited to share their own memories of Sept. 11 through an online portal created by The National EMS Museum. Atlanta History Center will also be sharing related oral histories on our website during the month of September.

Atlanta History Center is offering free admission with a valid ID to first responders the weekend of Sept. 10 to Sept. 12.

Atlanta History Center is open for visitation Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. COVID-19 protocols are in place.

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