Fire company holds 9/11 ceremony

Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fireman Philip Comini performs the Tolling of the Bell during the 9/11 Ceremony on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

BROADALBIN — On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans witnessed a day that “we will never forget” as terrorists attacked the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and one of the hijacked planes which crashed in a Pennsylvania field. That day 17 years ago almost 3,000 people lost their lives and over 6,000 were injured.

Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Company held a 9/11 ceremony Tuesday to honor those lives sacrificed on this tragic day 17 years ago.

“We gather here tonight to remember those lost in the terrorists attacks on our country on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Archie Rose, master of ceremony and assistant chief of BKFC.

Beginning the ceremony was the procession which included the Color Guard, American Legion Post 337, bagpiper Corinne Dubois, BKFC, ladies auxiliary BKFC, Perth Volunteer Fire Department, Galway Volunteer Fire Department, Berkshire Volunteer Fire Department, Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department, Providence Fire Department and Boy Scout Troop 51.

Singing the National Anthem was Caitlin Murray.

The Color Guard in the procession in the 9/11 Ceremony at Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Company on Tuesday is shown. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

Broadalbin Mayor Larry Cornell gave the welcoming remarks.

“As the ceremony goes on, just take a minute to think about where you were that day. I’m sure everyone remembers,” Cornell said. “And what was going through your mind, and what went though your mind for days to come after that because this was a horrific event.”

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, guest speaker, said she remembers she was a senior in high school English class when her teacher shared the news with her classmates. She said she remembers her schoolmates crying who couldn’t get a hold of their family members who worked at the World Trade Center.

“Seventeen years ago today the world watched as terrorists attacked our great nation. Americans across the country watched in awe as our brave first responders — many from upstate New York — put their lives at risk to rescue their fellow countrymen from the burning buildings in downtown Manhattan and at the Pentagon,” Stefanik said. “We watched as courageous passengers on United Airlines flight 93 make the ultimate sacrifice to prevent our enemies from striking another blow.”

Stefanik said in wake of those threats posed by international terrorism, members of the U.S. Armed Services have put forth extraordinary efforts to protect “our country.” She said the Fort Drum community continues to watch the 10th Mountain Division deploy places all across the globe to fight those who wish to do the country harm.

A piece of steel from Ground Zero of the World Trade Center is shown as part of the Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Company's 9/11 Memorial. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

“On today’s 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, let us reflect on the thousands of American mothers, fathers and children whose lives were taken from us that day by the cowardly acts of these brutal terrorists,” Stefanik said. “Let us remember our unity, the unity of our nation in response to these attacks. Let us remember that the great threat of global terrorism is still very real, and that we still have thousands of troops deployed around the world today. Let us always remember to thank our first responders and let us again, united, resolve to do everything we can to support those troops and these first responders, especially those present here today who work tireless each and every day to keep our nation and community safe.”

Stefanik’s speech was followed by “A Fireman’s Prayer” read by BKFC secretary and chaplin Keith Barloloma, followed by the Tolling of the Bell performed by BKFC member Philip Comini and then the presentation of the wreaths.

This year presenting the three wreaths were BKFC members. Ben Ruzycky and Brian Cornell presented the wreath honoring firefighters and other emergency personnel; American Legion post 337 Commander Al Wickham and VFW post 8690 Commander Dave Becker presented the wreath to honor the military personnel; Stefanik and Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino presented the wreath to honor civilians and law enforcement personnel.

The three wreaths are part of the BKFC 9/11 memorial. Also part of the memorial is a piece of steel from Ground Zero to remember those who were lost, a five-sided concrete pad for those lost at the Pentagon, a grassy area of those lost in the crash of United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania and a piece from the World Trade Center that holds a plaque that reads “Lest we forget 9-11-01.”

Rose said at the ceremony last year he was asked why they have the ceremony.

Kathy Cornell, left, Anna Smith, and Kim Smith, right, light each other's candles during the candle lighting part of the 9/11 Ceremony at Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Company on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

“We do this to honor not only those lost on Sept. 11, 2001, but also to remember the thousands of responders who have since passed and are still battling the after effects of 9/11 both physical and emotional,” Rose said.

The ceremony ended with a closing prayer by the Rev. Linda Martin of Broadalbin Presbyterian Church and a candle lighting with everyone singing to “God Bless America.”

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