WILMINGTON — The annual 9/11 Day of Remembrance was shorter and attendance was a little less than normal, but it included the yearly tolling of a bell, lowering of the flag, a 21-gun salute, “Taps”, and the music of bagpipes — in other words, it was not short on emotion.
Local government workers and members of the public assembled at 7:30 a.m. Friday outside Wilmington City Hall to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.
There was no keynote speaker, but Wilmington Mayor John M. Stanforth delivered introductory remarks, and Chester Friends and Springfield Friends Meetings Co-Pastor Nancy McCormick gave the invocation prayer.
Noting 19 years have passed since the series of four coordinated attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and injured thousands more, Stanforth said he was thinking about students in school who weren’t even born before the deadly strikes of 9/11.
“It’s our obligation to teach them,” he said.
One thing to teach the young is how firefighters and police officers dispatched to the twin towers rushed up the stairways toward the fire, said Stanforth. He listed the numbers: 343 firefighters and 60 police officers died, as did “thousands of innocent office workers.”
Stanforth asked whether attendees have taught their children who Todd Beamer is, and what the phrase “Let’s roll” means. Both questions point to the heroic struggles undertaken by the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, where they fought back and the jet went down in a field in Pennsylvania instead of its intended target.
“They were unarmed, but they took control,” said Stanforth.
The mayor said the war on terror has been won. “We beat these guys,” he said.
Returning to his theme of teaching the young about 9/11, Stanforth said our children have to be educated to defend our freedoms, adding, “We don’t grovel before anybody.”
McCormick, for her part, said it is a very somber day and went straight into prayer.
She prayed in gratitude for all first responders, including “those who rushed into harm’s way” on 9/11, and prayed for others who continue to live with painful memories.
McCormick prayed for divine help so that those assembled would live lives filled with the promise that there is hope for a New Day, “as we become patterns and examples of a people fully restored.”
The pastor closed out the prayer “in the name of the one who came before us, the one who taught us to love as well as to forgive. Amen.”
During the program, the American Legion Post 49 Memorial Squad conducted a 21-gun salute, Bob Baker played “Taps” on a bugle, Goshen Fire Department Deputy Chief and former Wilmington firefighter Ed Myers played the bagpipes, Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed rang the freedom bell three times, and the U.S. flag was lowered on the pole by Clinton County Chief Deputy Sheriff Brian Prickett who was accompanied by Wilmington Fire Chief Andy Mason and Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.