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Local Artist’s 9/11 Tribute To Be Displayed in National Museum

It took artist Thomas Nichols nine months to complete his latest work, but it may be his most recognized.

“When you lose 343 firefighters in one day, that becomes part of our history,” he said.

Nichols designed a photo print that salutes those fallen firefighters. It is titled “When They Ran Out, We Ran In.” A copy of the print will be hanging in the Memorial Chapel of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in Emmitsburg, Maryland, next week.

“It was the beginning of assuring us that we had done the right thing,” he said.

Howard Surdin, owner of Back Door Gallery & Custom Frame, helped Nichols mount the print and ship it to the East Coast. According to Nichols, copies of the print are also hanging in several fire stations in North Carolina.

“It brings a feeling of ‘America,'” said Surdin. “To unite, to get behind the people who protect us everyday.”

Nichols has an ambitious goal: to have his print hanging in every fire station in the country by September 11, 2011, which happens to be the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

“[This print] means to a fireman what the picture of Iwo Jima means to a marine,” Nichols added.

But, because many fire stations are experiencing budget constraints, Nichols plans to contact city halls and county offices. A portion of the print’s sales will be given to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. It is his way of giving back to a group of workers who risk their lives everyday.

“When the bell goes off, they’re not told in detail what it is. They just go!” he said.

For more information about Nichols’ print, contact him at or (301) 788-0388.

KESQ News Team


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