WESLACO, RGV – In commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, state Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez recalled his experience on that tragic day.

As a young paramedic, Martinez was on call early that morning. He was riding in the back of an ambulance, transferring a patient to the hospital, when en route, he heard local DJs Big Al and Charlie announce that a “small plane” had crashed into the World Trade Center.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘Wow, what would a small plane be doing in that area?’” said Rep. Martinez.

Arriving at the hospital, he found that everybody was glued to the TV, watching in disbelief as the details of the crash came to light. That “small plane” turned out to be American Airlines Flight 11, and shortly after, Martinez witnessed United Airlines Flight 175 plummet into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

“It’s kind of like the world stopped. Nobody knew what to say. We were just in sheer terror and wondering what was going on,” said Martinez.

Despite the intent of the “cowardly terrorists,” Martinez says the U.S. did not fall apart. On the contrary, the actions of the first responders reminded him of the strength and dedication that these men and women of our country possess every day.

“In remembrance every year, I just can’t help but thanking … all of our first responders, my brothers and my sisters in uniform, that are working hard to keep us safe every day,” said Martinez.

“When many people are running out of fires or from falling buildings or evacuating from natural disasters, our first responders are running in there to save lives.”

With his background as a firefighter and licensed paramedic, Martinez says that serving the Texans of District 39 is no different.

“We’ve always remain humble, and you always think of others,” said Martinez.

Martinez made his comments at the beginning of an RGG LIVE event with Rio Grande Guardian publisher Mark Hanna.

Congressman Henry Cuellar of Laredo issued this statement about 9/11:

“Sixteen years ago, our nation was changed forever. Now, every year, we remember and honor those civilians and first-responders who lost their lives during the attacks, as well as our brave service members who sacrifice every day in pursuit of making our nation and our world safe from terrorism. We remember that as Americans, we must continue to stand up for the rights of all, while upholding the ideals of freedom, democracy, and equal opportunity for every individual. Collectively we must always remember to bring justice and peace to the families of the victims of 9/11. United we all stand. We will never forget what happened on that fateful September day and we will never stop striving towards creating a better and safer world.”