HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - FDNY Battalion Fire Chief John LaBarbera and retired chief John Carroll exchanged souvenirs with Pearl Harbor heroes Friday.
It was a friendly give and take among survivors at the Arizona Memorial Visitors Center.
"There's so many similarities between what happened in New York and what happened here," LaBarbera said.
The fire chiefs said the New York Fire Department is still recovering from the attacks on September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked commercial jets and crashed them into the World Trade Center towers. More than 2,700 people were killed.
"We lost two firefighters from my fire house. My cousin's son was lost at 21," LaBarbera said.
A total of 343 New York firefighters died that day.
"I went over the list one day of all the firefighters that were lost. I actually worked with 102 of the members, personally worked with them, over the course of my career," Carroll said.
He has a picture in his basement of every one of them.
The trip to Hawaii is a working vacation for the pair. Often when they venture out of New York, it's to tell their story. They've told it many times. This year marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
"There's memorials set up back home. There's pictures set up. Every day that we wake up we see the remnants of what 9/11 did to everybody," Carroll said.
They say the killing of Osama bin Laden has helped soothe the hurt they still carry with them.
"I was in the gym giving out fire department hats. It was just a great day for me, personally," LaBarbera said.
"I thought that what goes around comes around. It was justice for everybody," Carroll said.
The fire chiefs came to Hawaii to remind us not to forget September 11. They never will.