Michigan first responders honored, memorialized on 9/11

On the anniversary of 9/11, the more than 400 fire responders who lost their lives are being honored by the sheriff's deputies in Oakland County. 

"The first thing that came in my mind that day was how expansive is it going to be? What do we have to do to make Oakland County prepared? So we started calling in people, setting up longer shifts, preparing for potential attacks here. And then the second thing ...  I started getting requests on assistance," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.

That's what Sheriff Bouchard was doing on this day 18 years ago. Just before midnight, a caravan of Oakland County Sheriff's deputies went to ground zero to help -- 2,977 people lost their lives that day and 412 of them were emergency workers.  

First responders like retired police officer Kathleen Mcabe was working in Troy. Her husband Bill was also working that day.  

"People are running out but who's running in? And they all have families, they all wanted to get home that evening and that was Bill's worry too. We had a daughter that we didn't know who was gonna take care of her. We were unable to go home on 9/11 until we knew the community was safe," she said.

On Wednesday night, Officer William Mcabe's name will be memorialized at the Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial, which honors 850 Michigan first responders who died in our state. Mcabe died in 2017 after a lengthy battle riddled with complications from an accident he was in. 

"He was struck from behind by a careless driver. He was thrown from the motorcycle and it caused extreme damage to not only his head and his right leg -- internal hemorrhaging," Kathleen said.

That led to a stroke and heart attack, ultimately ending his life. 

Remembering all first responders on a day when so many gave their lives is so critical. Mcabe's daughter flew in from Oregon. She is proud.  

Roop: "What do you think if he would say if he was alive?"

Caitlin Mcabe: "He would be so proud. He would be so proud to be a part of this. He would be so proud to be here. They were his brothers and sisters. They were his family. I grew up in this family. He would just be so proud."

"If you worked at Ground Zero you'll never forget the sights, the sounds, the smells. Those things will never leave you. But for me it goes beyond that because it's also what Police and Fire do every day of the year. They go out  prepared every day to give the ultimate sacrifice for a perfect stranger," Bouchard said.