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9/11: ‘Greene County has not forgotten’

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The Greene County Color Guard opened the ceremony last Monday in memory of the 9/11 tragedy. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

CAIRO — The annual ceremony in honor of those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks remembered the fallen and urged the community to never forget those dark days.

A large crowd attended the annual service held Monday at the Greene County Emergency Services facility to remember the events of 9/11 and honor the memory of those who were lost in the attacks and in their aftermath.

On Sept. 11, 2001, a coordinated terrorist attack crashed airplanes into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and in an empty field in western Pennsylvania.

The attacks killed 2,977 people, including 2,753 killed in New York; 184 at the Pentagon; and 40 on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

Since then, hundreds more have died due to cancers and other illnesses they contracted during the massive clean-up efforts at the World Trade Center.

Each year, Greene County holds a memorial service for those who died, and for the countless first responders who rushed to help, including the 341 firefighters from the New York City Fire Department who died when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed.

The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band performed patriotic songs before and during the service. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

John Farrell Jr., director of Emergency Services for Greene County, introduced the ceremony’s guest speaker, John D’Alessandro, from FASNY, or the Firefighters Association of the State of New York.

D’Alessandro said the 9/11 attacks, now 22 years ago, changed the world forever.

“There are critical historical events that define us as individuals, as a society, and as human beings,” D’Alessandro told the crowd. “It is those consequential events that we must be vigilant to record and pass on as accurately as possible. Sept. 11, 2001, was a day that changed the world and our lives forever.”

It is a day that must never be forgotten, he said.

“Over the years, I have become increasingly frustrated that for many, this day is merely becoming the day between Sept. 10 and Sept. 12,” he said. “Yes, we mouth the words that we will never forget, we put it on T-shirts and bumper stickers, we go through the motions of acknowledging the thousands who died, we commemorate the heroism of the first responders who stood up to pure evil. But do we still think about what truly happened? The kind of reflection that forces us to reach deep into our souls and at least for one day a year, feel the same emotions we did back then? We need to do this not to make ourselves feel bad or to rekindle some feeling of anger, rather, we need to do this to recommit ourselves to ensure that something like this never happens again.”

U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-19, addresses the crowd. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

The day of the terrorist attacks is seared into the nation’s collective memory, U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-19, said, and society must ensure that those who were not yet born on that day learn what it meant to the nation.

“Those of us who lived through the attacks of Sept. 11, remember quite clearly the horror and the tragedy, the evil that we saw on television or on the streets of New York City. The imagery of the fire and the flames and the explosions is seared in our memories. We recall the men and women who woke up that morning and didn’t return home to families and communities that love them, and remember those brave heroes who ran toward the fire and toward the emergency, who sacrificed themselves in service to a grateful community and a nation.”

State Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-41, said America must never forget the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

State Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-41, called the day of attacks an “indescribable tragedy” that must never be forgotten.

“We stand united in remembrance of every innocent life lost and extend our heartfelt solidarity with the families who were shattered by unspeakable acts of terror,” Hinchey said. “In the span of a single morning, our world was permanently changed — families, friends and neighbors were taken from us, leaving behind a void that can never be filled. And yet throughout these past two decades, we have found ways to honor their memory. We have found ways to continue building a nation that stands stronger, exhibiting the same unyielding humanity that brought us together all those years ago.”

“Greene County has not forgotten” the tragedy of 9/11, Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, said. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Assemblyman Chris Tague noted that “Greene County has not forgotten” the events of 9/11, “and it never forgets.” America must never forget, too, the bravery and sacrifice of those first responders who rushed towards danger to save others, Tague said.

“Today we gather to remember a day etched forever in our hearts, a day that challenged our nation and a day that showcased the incredible heroism and dedication of our first responders,” Tague said. “On Sept. 11, 2001, our world changed in an instant, but it was the courage and the selflessness of our dedicated first responders that illuminated the darkness and restored our faith in humanity.”

A large crowd turned out for the annual remembrance ceremony in memory of those who died on 9/11. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media
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