Photo Credit: Jen Parente
New Rochelle,NY—- Wednesday night’s 9/11 Memorial Service and Candle Light Vigil sponsored by the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association of New Rochelle drew over 100 citizens from across the city, including veterans, local police and firefighters, an inter-faith clergy, and elected officials. The emotional ceremony was held at American Legion Hall at the Post 8 Legion on North Avenue.
The Ceremony focused on the importance of remembrance for those we lost and honoring their lives in how we move on. There were moving personal testimonies of friends and loved ones lost and the experiences of first responders. Religious leaders recounted their own experiences and how they have relied upon God strength and love to help bring solace to those who are still suffering from the aftermath of that tragic day 12 years ago.
This year the freedom tower was topped off. It now stands as a testament to how the country has moved on from the events of that day. The overarching theme at the ceremony was how to live as a people that would honor the memory of those who were taken from us. This included taking better care of our first responders, and military men & women who have been hurt both physically and spiritually from the wars that followed 9/11 and the dust cloud that lingered in the atmosphere during the rescue and recovery effort.
Another important theme was how do we continue a way of life that is truly American and free in a world where there is an ever increasing demand for security. Several speakers mentioned the need to continue to stand for the rights enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.
These documents on which our nation was founded, are what makes America truly exceptional. It is not our economic size or military might but the principles of Liberty that birthed our nation. It is those very principles that the perpetrators of 9/11 sought to destroy. Our military men and women swear an oath to defend those rights from all enemies, foreign and domestic, as American citizens we are duty bound to defend those principles even when it is our own government that infringes upon them.
Clergy Members in attendance were:
Pastor Tom Buchanan-The Presbyterian Church of New Rochelle
Rabii Evan Hoffman–Anshe Sholom Synogogue of New Rochelle
Bishop Redford Mott–Family Christian Center of New Rochelle
Father Frances Biglin-Holy Name of Jesus Parish
A Poem by Amin Valentin a 9/11 first responder.
People often ask me "What did I feel when I was down there?"
They're often shocked by my answer...
Before I got there, I was scared;
Not knowing what to expect.
With only a years experience under my belt,
Never having faced a situation like this.
I had no clue what I was walking into.
But that didn't stop me...
Or the other 1,099 responders that arrived at the scene.
We arrived. And I will admit to a brief moment of shock as I stepped out of the ambulance.
But I did not feel while I was down there.
I did not feel because I spent my time focused.
I did not let myself feel because I had a job to do.
I was too busy running when I needed to,
and running right back afterward... because I had to!
Because people needed help...so what was I going to do?
Digging endlessly to no a vail.
I just dug.
I dug til my gloves began to tear,
I dug til my arms could no longer bare,
And when my consciousness told me I could no longer dig because I was too sore...
I just shut my mind and dug some more!
Iona Bag Pipers
Pledge of Allegiance
Candle Light Vigil
Names of the Fallen