WATCH: Kiwi firefighters honor 9/11 victims with ‘haka’ dance
Despite being almost 9,000 miles away from their counterparts in New York, more than 160 New Zealand firefighters performed the intense and emotional ceremonial Maori war dance “haka” to pay tribute to their fallen colleagues who perished in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the travesty two days ago, the Kiwis displayed their traditional battle cry, which is also used to express collective emotion during the annual Memorial Firefighter Stair Climb, held at the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
The event’s guest of honor, New York firefighter and 9/11 ground zero veteran Steven San Filippo, described the touching tribute as a “tremendous honor to be commemorated on the other side of the world.”
The two-hour ceremony also paid homage by reading aloud all the names of the 343 New York City fallen firefighters, along with the names of 56 New Zealand firemen who also died while serving their country.
Donning full fire gear, the Kiwis also climbed up the 1,000-step staircase of the Sky Tower while carrying special tags bearing the names of all the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) servicemen.
“This spreads the word of the tremendous effort that the New York City firefighters made on 9/11, 2001,” Filippo said during the ceremony.
“They were protecting life and property in the city of New York,” he added. “And you know what? Any department anywhere in the world would have done the same thing.” Khristian Ibarrola
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