Ceremony in Carroll recognizes continuing effects of 9/11 attacks

Just as in 2018, Sept. 11, 2001, fell on a Tuesday.

“It was a beautiful day, clear. All was well. … People got up that morning, kissed their loved ones goodbye, traveled to New York. Others were waiting patiently to be relieved from their jobs to travel home to their loved ones they left the day before,” said Don Fair, president of the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association as he recalled the atmosphere in the hours before the attacks of that day.

“Who would have thought that that day was different than any other day.”

He spoke Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2018, at a ceremony held at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center in Westminster.

The center is home to a permanent memorial where a steel I-Beam from the Twin Towers is displayed. The bending of the beam’s thick metal hinted at the strength of the forces that struck it 17 years ago even as it lay still in its resting place.

The memorial was dedicated April 20, 2017.

Tuesday’s ceremony began with a moment of silence and the presentation of colors by the Union Bridge Fire Company Honor Guard.

Deacon Charles Barnhart, chaplain to CCVESA, spoke briefly before giving the invocation.

“Today we remember. I don’t want to say we celebrate their lives, but we give thanks to God that they were able to do what they were to do. And now they rest from their labors. We simply say, ‘Well done good and faithful servants’ and we thank them for their ultimate sacrifice,” Barnhart said.

“Really there are only two words that matter this day. ‘Never. Forget,’” he added, before beginning the prayer.

Fair spoke next. The day brought personal memories for him of funerals for friends who were New York City firefighters lost as they responded to the attacks.

When the first aircraft struck the World Trade Center’s North Tower at 8:46 a.m., many believed it was “some kind of horrific malfunction,” he said. But the attacks continued, and so did the losses.

He also spoke to the losses that came in the years following. Seventeen years later, the number of deaths of those exposed to contaminants from Ground Zero continues to rise.

More than 37,000 ailments “relating directly” to the attack have been reported.

“Please remember that this is not over,” Fair said.

Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Brown also spoke, remembering two Mount Airy citizens killed on 9/11, William Ruth and Ronald Vauk.

“These families are forever impacted, as we are forever impacted,” Brown said.

He asked attendees of the morning’s ceremony to take a moment outside at the physical memorial but more importantly, to teach others about the history — especially those who were too young to remember the attack or those, now nearing adulthood, who were not yet born.

As she took a moment with family to reflect by the memorial outside, Kati Townsley of the Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company said the ceremony had been meaningful. The events of 9/11 were part of the reason she began at Reese, she said.

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