October 30, 2014

Elyria
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North Ridgeville to observe 9/11 attacks

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — For only the second time in 13 years, the city will hold a Sept. 11 observance to honor and remember the thousands who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.

“Several years ago, we held one by the flagpole in front of City Hall, but there haven’t been any since,” Tissy Simon, administrative assistant to Mayor David Gillock, said Friday. “This will be the first time the city has done anything at the level we’re doing it, and we want to see it continue.”

Set for 8:20 a.m. Sept. 11 at the South Central Park gazebo, the ceremony will include remarks by Fire Chief John Reese, Police Chief Michael Freeman, and a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. — the time when the first jetplane struck the first tower.

Those attending the ceremony also will see equipment used by New York City firefighters, 343 of whom gave their lives to help get thousands of people in the towers to safety before the buildings collapsed.

According to cnn.com, 2,753 perished in the attacks in New York. Another 224 died aboard hijacked airliners that crashed into the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa.

The observance is being planned by a committee comprised of Simon; Rita Price, senior center director; Robin Mayda, administrative assistant to Safety-Service Director Jeffry Armbruster; who will preside at the ceremony; as well as Reese and Freeman.

For Reese, 9/11 evokes thoughts about the overwhelming loss of life, not only of firefighters, but of the thousands of innocent victims as well.

“For (firefighters), you realize that could happen and you get used to the idea,” Reese said. “You go to work and come home and put it out of your mind. I think about all the people diving out of windows (of the towers). Those are people who never planned to go to work and get killed. It never occurred to them.”

The Fire Department’s museum will display a pair of air tanks recovered from the towers that were donated by the New York Fire Department.

“They looked like they exploded,” Reese said. “I don’t know if they were on someone’s back or not. They could have been carried as extras. There’s no way of telling. Either way, someone had them and never came out with them.”

An honor guard will lower the American flag, and taps will be played.

The memorial is expected to last about 30 minutes, after which refreshments will be served at the Community Cabin in South Central Park.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.