Lake Fire & Rescue to hold 9/11 remembrance

Contributed by Judy Fish

September 11 is not just a historic date for members of Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire & Rescue (LMVFR)—for them, it’s personal.

Each year LMVFR invites the community to a remembrance for all those who died and the “sacrifices that were made that day and all the days afterward” in a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial Garden, located at 10 Slice Road in Palmyra. This year that ceremony is Saturday, Sept. 11, at 4 p.m.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on our nation in which 2,977 people were murdered in New York City, The Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001—in the largest terror attack in our country’s history,” said Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Chief Richie Constantino.

Like others on his team, Constantino, who has served with the Lake Monticello Fire Department for 20 years and as the chief for 10 years and assistant chief for five years prior to that, was a firefighter in New York. “I served in New York for 30 years and as the fire chief for 18 years of those years,” he explained of his and others personal connections to the tragic events 20 years ago.

“If we do not keep the remembrance alive it will be just a matter of time before people will forget and not observe the sacrifices that were made,” he said pointing to “the heroics of the 343 members of FDNY who were murdered while saving lives that day and the great number of firefighters, and police officers who are still dying from the effects of working at ground zero. If they didn’t do what they did, a lot more people would have perished.”

He said members of the Lake Monticello Fire Department, Rescue Squad and Water Rescue honor and commemorate all the civilians, firefighters, police officers and EMT’s who perished on that fateful day.

“The Lake Monticello Fire Department started the Memorial Garden in 2003, with a single piece of granite donated by Cogswell Stone and it grew from there,” the chief said. He said he received a piece of steel from Tower 1 in 2011 and that was added to the memorial.

“We re-dedicated the memorial with a public ceremony on Sept. 11, 2011, and since that time many people from the community have visited the memorial and paid their respects to those who were lost,” Constantino said.

He said the Memorial Garden located next the fire station has been expanded to include tributes to two of “our own” Lake Monticello members who were killed in the line of duty while serving the residents of Fluvanna County in 1989 and U.S. Navy Seaman Dakota Rigsby, of the Lake Monticello Fire Department, who was killed while serving onboard of the U.S.S. Fitzgerald, in the Sea of Japan.

“The Remembrance Ceremony will continue as long as I am alive and associated with the fire department,” the Chief said. “There are plenty of members who will keep it going after I am gone. That is how strongly we feel.”

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