Rain doesn’t dampen 9/11 commemoration

By Heather Michon, correspondent

A sudden thunderstorm didn’t stop about 100 members of the community from gathering at the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire and Rescue (LMVF&R) building on Wednesday evening (Sep.t 11). The ceremony simply moved inside.

Lake Monticello Chief Rich Constantino, a former New York homicide detective, knew many of the first responders who died that day. In his opening remarks, he observed that the losses are continuing to mount.

“I would like to remind everyone that the carnage and destruction has not stopped,” he said. “It’s inconceivable that we are still losing loved ones eighteen years after the event.”

Multiple speakers shared memories of the day.

Richard Barringer, chair of the Lake Monticello Board of Directors, was working in Bethesda, Maryland and watched the attacks unfold in Washington. “I will never be erased from my psyche,” he said.

“I think for most of us, the day divided into two parts,” said Del. Rob Bell. “You have all the terrible things that happened, and you saw the best examples of what we can be as a people.”

Supervisor Tony O’Brien said the attack had shown everyone that “we all have the opportunity to step up and be a hero.”

O’Brien encouraged the audience to thank our public servants whenever possible. “I mean, I just got a ticket,” he joked, “but still, the best thing we can do is to thank the people trying to help us.”

Some speakers noted that babies born in 2001 are now turning 18; even today’s young college students are too young to remember the morning of September 11.

“Make sure your kids know what happened that day,” said Cheif Mike Brent of the Fluvanna County Volunteer Fire Department.

Multiple scheduled speakers, including Congressman Denver Riggleman, were unable to attend. The American Legion performed their 21-gun salute outside in the drizzle while the audience stayed dry inside and the wreath-laying at the 9-11 Memorial was put off until the skies cleared.

Still, it was a heartfelt remembrance and tribute.

Fluvanna has been memorializing the tragedy since at least 2004.

In 2011, Constantino and others obtained a five-foot-long piece of steel from the World Trade Center. This became the heart of the 9/11 memorial garden on the Slice Road side of the LMVF&R building on South Boston Road.

The little garden also recognizes two Fluvanna firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty in 1989 and, more recently, Navy Seaman Dakota Rigsby, killed in July 2017 when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan.

County Administrator Eric Dahl said his wife had been moved by her visit to the National September 11 Memorial during a recent visit to New York. He praised the work of Constantino and others to construct our local memorial.

“What a great thing,” he said, “to have a little slice of that here in Lake Monticello and the Fluvanna community.”


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