Twenty years later, remembering 9/11

By Page H. Gifford

The 45-minute ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 11, was well attended and opened with LMFD Fire Chief Rich Constantino addressing the audience and reminding them why it was so important to remember those who perished on 9/11. It was a somber remembrance and tribute not only to those who lost their lives in the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon, and the United Airlines flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, but it was also about remembering those who were still feeling the effects long after.

Of the 105,000 responders and survivors, more than 24,000 are still receiving ongoing medical treatment for cancer-related and respiratory illnesses and over 3,946 have died of illnesses linked with the 9/11 tragedy.

“They say we should get over it but that is a slap in the face to the police officers and firemen who gave their lives that day,” he said. “We must always remember and never forget.”

Others who spoke briefly were LMRS Chief Eddie Shifflett and LMWRS Chief John Lye. Supervisor Tony O’Brien spoke, recalling where he was at the moment he heard about the tragedy. Lake Monticello General Manager Steve Hurwitz said a few words as did Lake Monticello Board President Larry Henson, who stood with board members Jeff Spinello, Nicole Hawker, and Judy Fish. Henson delivered a stirring message, ending with the profound statement, “Never take one minute of your life for granted.” Also, in attendance was Sheriff Eric Hess.

They also honored those still living who had given many years of volunteer service to LMFR. The ceremony ended with Chief Constantino thanking the community for its support and prayers for those who died and for those still living. The last sounds heard were haunting, the tolling of the bell, signifying “the last call” and a siren.

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