Carroll County firefighters, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and elected and appointed officials turned out in large numbers at 8:30 a.m. last Monday at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center for a poignant commemorative ceremony on the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
This year, Susan Mott, president of the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association, served as master of ceremonies. The posting of the colors was proudly performed by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard. The National Anthem was powerfully performed by Devon Nickoles, followed by an invocation by the CCVESA Chaplain Deacon Charles Barnhart. CCVESA Treasurer Mary Carole Stiffler rang the bell at exactly 8:46 a.m. for a moment of silence.
Last Monday morning, folks solemnly gathered to hear presentations by Carroll County Commissioner President – Ed Rothstein, a retired U.S. Army colonel, and Jack Dewan Jr., a firefighter and EMS provider assigned to the B-shift of Station 12 – Sykesville, of the Carroll County Department of Fire and EMS.
Also sharing remarks were Valerie Hawkins, the Carroll County director of Public Safety; Charles Simpson, the 2nd vice resident of the Maryland State Firemens Association; and Carroll County Department of Fire and EMS Chief Mike Robinson. At the end of the ceremony, Greg Wantz, the president of the Westminster Municipal Band, played “Taps.”
“This is a significant day every year, a day when we continue to honor those we lost and reaffirm our promise to never forget the events of 9/11 and those who sacrificed so much then and in the aftermath,” Rothstein said in a county news release. “It is our duty to gather and pause while we solemnly remember and honor the victims, heroes, and families each year.”
In Carroll County we still remember 22 years later. Rothstein spoke for many last Monday when he said, “The Cambridge dictionary defines atrocity as ‘an extremely cruel, violent, or shocking act.’ Twenty-two years ago we can, with unfortunate ease, remember such an act. Whether we were directly affected through the loss of loved ones, or by the penetration of fear in our very core, every person was left impacted by the atrocity that took place on this day.
“It is a challenge knowing that it has been 22 years. Some will say that it was so long ago while others will share that it feels like yesterday. Many of us share where we were at the time … or how we never saw another plane in the same manner.”
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two of the planes were deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into North Tower at exactly 8:46 a.m. and, 16 minutes later at 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. At 9:37 a.m., a third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed at 10:30 a.m. in a Stonycreek Township field, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
It is widely accepted that the target of the fourth plane, Flight 93, was either the U.S. Capitol or the White House. The passengers aboard fought back against the terrorists, subsequently causing the plane to crash in the field in Pennsylvania.
At the World Trade Center in New York, both of the 110-story towers collapsed within an hour and 45 minutes of the initial impact. It was the scene of the deadliest loss of life in a single incident for firefighters and law enforcement in American history.
“The attacks killed 2,977 people from at least 93 nations,” Hawkins said. “Two thousand seven hundred and fifty three people were killed in New York including 343 firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers; 184 people were killed at the Pentagon including 55 military personnel; and 40 people were killed on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. 2,000 children lost a parent on 9/11.”
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Among those lost on that fateful day was Dewan’s youngest uncle, New York City firefighter Gerard Dewan. Last Monday, Jack Dewan explained that on Sept. 11, 2001, his uncle was working at New York City Fire Department Ladder Company 3, 6th Battalion, 1st Division, located at 108 E. 13th St. in Manhattan’s East Village. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious ladder companies in New York, established on Sept. 11, 1865. Ladder Company 3 sustained heavy casualties on Sept. 11. Ladder 3′s Captain Patrick J. Brown and his men were on the 35th floor of the North Tower when it collapsed
Robinson closed his remarks with a memorial prayer from the Jewish faith, a prayer entitled “We Remember Them” by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer.
Last Monday, Jack Dewan concluded his remarks by explaining, “When the 9/11 anniversary comes each year, please remember that the names read aloud are not just those on a roster. They are people who still have an impact on those of us who were left behind. Our survivors’ guilt never goes away and many of us still live like every day is Sept. 12th.”
Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. His Time Flies column appears every Sunday. Email him at email@example.com.