Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem firefighters and police hold annual 9/11 remembrance softball game

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - A light game of softball played with heavy hearts.

"I honestly don't think there's a police officer or firefighter in this country that doesn't wake up on September 11 and reflect on what that day means," said Bethlehem police officer and FOP President Will Audelo. 

For the Bethlehem Police and Fire Departments, September 11 means taking the field at Saucon Park in honor of the first responders who lost their lives trying to save others. 

"It's just a chance for everybody to reflect on that," said Bethlehem firefighter R.J. Giering.

Bethlehem police officers and firefighters battle it out every year for the remembrance softball game on a very tough anniversary.

"Just watching news clips and stuff all those emotions come back so it's still pretty raw to me," said Bethlehem Fire Capt. Kevin Landis. 

"It was really the reason that I decided to join the military and I think it played a role in why I'm in the career that I am now," said Audelo. 

It's a tradition that brings the departments together on a day when terrorists tried to tear the country apart.

"It's a great event and you can tell it's a tight-knit group between the Bethlehem first responders," said Bethlehem police officer Ra'Von Burton. 

"It's really important that the firefighters and the police have a special relationship and this really does help to build upon that," said Audelo. 

With their fellow officers and families watching and cheering on the sidelines, the players say there's a lot at stake.

"We get bragging rights for the next year, so we want to come out here and do our best," said Landis. 

Giving it their all just like their brothers and sisters did 18 years ago.

"Show their respects on this day and do remember everyone who sacrificed literally everything they had," said Burton. 

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