Warrensburg citizens listen to a speech paying tribute to the sacrifices of the heroes of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — and the soldiers who fought to protect freedom in the decade since — during the annual 9/11 memorial ceremony held in downtown Warrensburg Tuesday Sept. 11. About 100 firefighters from northern Warren County, joined by several hundred citizens. participated in the solemn services.
With their solemn faces bathed in candlelight, hundreds of citizens from northern Warren County joined area firefighters and EMS personnel in a ceremony downtown held as a tribute to those who gave their lives in the Sept. 11 terror attacks — and those who put their lives on the line providing vital assistance on that fateful day.
While some ceremonies across the nation were downsized or abandoned in this 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Warrensburg followed the theme of its adopted 9/11 slogan, “We Will Always Remember” as it held its community ceremony beside the Floyd Bennett Memorial Bandstand.
Warrensburg Fire Chief Justin Hull urged people to never forget the day, and its impact on the nation.
“We lost so much that day, and the 11 years to follow with battling two wars — but as a nation, we have grown stronger,” he said, extending the attention to U.S. and allied soldiers as well as emergency responders on vigil in communities across America. “They all sacrifice an untold number of hours away from home and work to keep their communities safe.”
About 100 firefighters were present, some in crisp formal uniforms, other in soot-stained turnout gear that bore silent witness to their service.
Sister Linda Hogan of Saint Cecilia’s Catholic Church talked of how the events and impact of the day were indelible in the memory of those who lived through the horrific day.
“It was a series of unspeakable acts of hatred and unbelievable acts of violence,” she said in her Invocation.
“But now we should consider the other side of 9/11 — the first responders and office workers — those who ran into collapsing and burning buildings while others were running out,” she said. Hogan added that all people should emulate such courage, love and sacrifice, recognizing it as a symbol of love, and put it to work in their own lives.
A statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo was read, urging that all citizens never forget the bravery and courage of the 9/11 first responders, as well as the outpouring of goodwill, in the attack’s aftermath, from communities across the state, nation and from many nations.
A video, depicting some of the scenes from 9/11, juxtaposed with portraits of emergency responders who died in the attacks, was projected onto a screen for all to view. A second patriotic video, emphasizing the resolve of the U.S. to defend itself from tyrants, prompted cheers from the audience.
Participating in the ceremony were dozens of firefighters from the following fire companies: Bolton Landing, Chestertown, Garnet Lake, Horicon, Johnsburg, Lake George, North Creek, Pottersville, Queensbury Central, Stony Creek, Thurman, and the host, Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co.
Warrensburg Emergency Medical Services had a large contingent of its members present. Thurman Emergency Medical Services was well represented, with six members attending the services.
Giant U.S. flags were draped from the extended ladders of tower trucks provided by Lake George, Queensbury Central and Pottersville Fire companies.
Former Warrensburg Chief Scott Combs rang a ceremonial bell to memorialize firefighters statewide who died in the line of duty. Local firefighters Justin Hull, John Hensler and Rob Nelson laid a memorial wreath at a monument in front of the bandstand.
U.S. Air Force serviceman Ryan Griffin, son of firefighter Bob Griffin and wife Edrie, led the parade from the fire house to the memorial bandstand, a march that launched the ceremony. He was introduced during the service as a “surprise guest,” returning to the U.S. from deployment in Germany. The crowd greeted him with cheers.
Warrensburg High School Band played the National Anthem and God Bless America, prompting more cheers from the crowd.