Members of the Waxahachie Fire Department gathered at the main fire station on Water Street on Tuesday morning to participate in a service honoring firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty — including three Waxahachie firefighters.

“On Sept. 11, we honor the vow to never forget the New York Fire Department, Port Authority, New York Police Department and Emergency Medical Service and one way is by having a ceremony such as this,” Waxahachie Fire Chief David Hudgins said.

During the terrorist attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, 343 New York City firefighters were killed when two hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Center Towers.

Trade Center towers.

Sixty of those firefighters were off duty but reported in to provide additional assistance as emergency crews as they worked to rescue those trapped in the towers. The attack also claimed the lives of 60 police officers.

“Goverment regulations require that we fly flags at half staff today in memory of firemen who died in the line of duty,” Hudgins said, saying the International Association of Fire Chiefs has requested that all firemen world-wide not cover badges.

“We cover our badges during the funerals of our fallen, but this ceremony today is not a funeral — but a ceremony to honor these men,” Hudgins said.

The ceremony was brief, with Hudgins reading the names of three Waxahachie firemen who lost their lives in the line of duty: Herman R. Tidwell, who died Jan. 8, 1983; Tom Hatfield, who died Aug. 1, 1924; and Henry Erby, who died, Nov. 11, 1900.

After the reading of each fallen fireman’s name, the traditional five bells were sounded in his memory. This was followed by a prayer given by the Rev. Bruce Zimmerman, chaplain of the Waxahachie Fire Department and pastor of Waxahachie Bible Church.

Also present were several employees of H-E-B grocery.

“For the past three years, H-E-B has joined with the fire departments in Red Oak, Midlothian and Waxahachie to adopt a fire station,” Hudgins said. “Periodically they come and cook breakfast for the men, and just be there doing whatever they can to help.”

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@waxahachiedailylight.com