The Times
  • Kuyahoora Valley pauses to remember 9/11

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  • With words and with bells, with the placement of a wreath and a gun salute, firefighters, military veterans and Kuyahoora Valley residents honored the heroes and victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as well as those who served and those who continue to serve.
    Shannon McEvoy, of the Newport Fire Department, who served as master of ceremonies, explained the sounding of the “four fives” before Fire Captain Mark Farrell rang the bells in the sequence. McEvoy said during the 1800s, messages were passed from one community to the next by tolling bells. The death of a firefighter in the line of duty was announced by four series of five rings.
    Commander Leslie Crossett, of American Legion Post No. 1524, questioned if people’s memories of the 9/11 attacks are beginning to fade.
    “Our enemies are counting on that,” he said, adding they think Americans are selfish and materialistic.
    However, he pointed out, America’s military is taking down terrorists.
    “Our men and women in uniform are dismantling terror networks. God bless our Armed forces, God bless you and God bless America,” said Crossett.
    Newport Mayor Ashley Hennings recalled the day of the attacks, saying, “We watched, we prayed, we hoped.”
    She pointed out that some of those in attendance were not yet born when the attacks occurred and said it is important to hold services such as this one so they will remember what happened.
    Fire Chief John Butler spoke of the first responders who “willingly laid down their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice.” He praised all those who help others whether by defending the nation’s freedom or responding to emergencies. “It’s a testament to their level of commitment,” he said.
    “Americans are known to be resilient,” said Marine Corporal Richard Marko. He noted Americans have fought against tyranny since the days of the Revolutionary War. He recalled being aware of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a young boy and, while not completely understanding, being aware of the reactions of his teachers and parents. “One of the benefits of being in the military is that we get to remember why we’re doing things every day. We keep everything away from the homeland,” he said.
    Marko said Americans fight for freedom for others as well as themselves.
    “When you see the American flag waving, take a moment of silence and remember all who have fallen,” he said, adding, “Freedom is not free.”
    He encouraged his listeners to help wounded warriors and families of fallen military personnel.
    Chief Chaplain Ken Palmer, of the New York Association of Fire Chaplains, said despite the shock of the attack, men and women “sprang into action,” entering the World Trade Center with the intent of rescuing people and putting out the fire. He also noted the courage of the citizens who took down a plane to keep the terrorists from using it as a missile.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We shall always remember the Port Authority, police, emergency medical personnel, fire departments and military personnel who stepped up to the plate that fateful day.”
    A wreath-laying ceremony, a rifle salute and the playing of Taps were followed by a benediction by Father Quy Vo to conclude the ceremony.
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