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Las Vegas firefighters pay tribute to the 9/11 heroes who inspired them to become first responders

Posted: 10:58 PM, Sep 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-12 12:28:54-04

The Las Vegas Valley Firefighters Benefit Association held its annual September 11th Memorial March and Tribute Tuesday night.

RELATED: Retired NY firefighter shares Ground Zero experience at Las Vegas remembrance ceremony

The somber march went down Fremont Street from Main to 3rd streets. It ended under a Ladder Truck Flag Arch. It was a fitting tribute and symbolic of the support the nation's firefighters have provided for each other in years since 9/11.

Nearly two decades later as memories fade, there is still that feeling.

"It's personal," said Roland Chavez. 

The eyes still well up with tears and voices still crack under the weight of emotion. 

"It's a brotherhood. It hits hard," Chavez said. 

Retired Houston firefighter Roland Chaves comes to Las Vegas every year with a group from Texas for a day that begins with golf and ends with the march down Fremont Street. It's a reminder that they still live while 343 firefighters didn't come home. 

"Every single one of us are grateful," Chavez said. "Don't get me wrong every single one of us that are here are grateful, but we hurt because of what took place."

What took place not only changed the past, but shaped futures for people like Robert Macias who is now a Las Vegas firefighter and paramedic. 

"Just seeing those guys going in risking their lives," said Macias. "I feel like I'm destined to just help people."

He was just a senior in high school, but Macias found his calling that day.  

"That very same week I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps," he said. "Got a couple of deployments. Decided to be a firefighter and wanted to give back the way these guys did."

Las Vegas firefighter Cynthia Reveles was still just a school girl back then. 

"I was in middle school. I was in sixth grade," Reveles said. 

She was also inspired to become a first responder. 

"Just becoming a part of it with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue," she said. "It's everything I could have dreamed of and better. "

Their calls to duty inspired by the ultimate sacrifice.