Lloyd remembers 9/11
As they have for 12 years, officials and residents of the Town of Lloyd gathered in a somber memorial ceremony at the Firehouse last week to honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Musicians from the 20th Century Limited Senior Drum and Bugle Corps opened the ceremony by playing “America the Beautiful.” The Pledge of Allegiance was then led by select members of the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from Troop 70 and Girl Scouts of the Heart of the Hudson Rivers Edge Community. Jessica Avampato followed with the singing of the National Anthem.
Fr. Thomas Lutz of the St. Augustine Church led an opening prayer, in part; “We ask in your compassion to bring healing to all who suffer from injuries and illnesses from that day; heal the pain of still grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives in courage and hope. Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost may not have been lost in vain.”
Supervisor Paul Hansut said everyone remembers where they were “when this tragedy occurred.” He said when he first saw news footage of the event; he recalled thinking, “My God what a tragedy. I was sickened and in disbelief as we all were.”
Hansut invited former Poughkeepsie Mayor Colette LaFuente to the podium. She lost her husband Juan on Sept. 11.
“Every year we come together to remember the loved ones that we lost,” she said, adding that in the Hudson Valley is where the event is felt most acutely because of its proximity to New York City.
LaFuente attended the service in New York City earlier in the day, recounting that “the emotions today are as raw as they were 12 years ago.” She said the pain of that day will never go away and that many who attended the New York City ceremony held up photographs of their loved ones.
“It’s almost as if they are trying to have their loved one stand witness one more time with them,” she said, with a crack of emotion in her voice.
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein thanked everyone for attending, noting that it is not required but “you choose to be here.” He said there are no words to adequately thank the veterans for their service to the country and called the first responders “heroes” who make life-and- death decisions to help others in the community.
“We as a nation will never forget because it ties into the core values of who we are as Americans; it’s about faith as we pray for the families who lost their loved ones [and] it’s about family because we are all as one,” he said.
Hein said this country is more about what we share together and not about any political issues that may divide us.
“Sept. 11 brought us together as much as it broke our hearts,” he said.
Hein said it is impossible to know the grief of someone who lost a loved one that fateful day.
“By coming here today we can show the respect they so justly deserve,” he said. “I ask that you stand witness, not just for yourself, but for your children and your children’s children and for millennia and generations after that. Ladies and gentlemen, we are the greatest nation on the face of this Earth and we will make sure that we stand strong, we stand for the families and that we never forget.”
Terry Bernardo, chairwoman of the Ulster County Legislature, said she lived very near ground zero in Manhattan at the time of the attacks but was in Colorado on that day. She said upon returning home it was a haunting feeling to not see the World Trade Towers that were so much of a presence in her neighborhood.
“It was just such a huge void,” she recalled.
Bernardo said that day gave “a new meaning to New York’s bravest and to New York’s finest…I will never forget [and] the people of New York City will never forget.”
Highland Fire Chief Peter Miller asked everyone to remember, not only those killed in 2001, but the first responders who assisted and later became ill or died from exposure to toxic materials. Miller said after again listening to Allan Jackson’s song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” “all the memories flashed back from that horrific life altering day. Everything seemed so simple on Sept. 10 and now it seems the whole world is in turmoil. It may be but we have to carry on and do our absolute best to ensure that we do not live in fear every day and that we enjoy the freedoms we have. We as Americans must remain strong and prepare for anything in this era of terror and dysfunction.”
Miller encouraged everyone “to once again fly your flag every day as I do. Be proud of our community, our military, our nation and the freedoms we enjoy. It is infectious and will benefit all of us in our quality of life.”
Lloyd Police Chief Daniel Waage said after he served in the United States military and travelled the world he came to deeply appreciate “how lucky I am to be an American and call the United States of America my home.”
Waage said in the weeks immediately following Sept. 11 he began to see divisions dissipate and “only Americans pulling together and flying the flag proudly” to the strains of patriotic music and songs in the air.
“It was heartwarming to see and feel Americans of all backgrounds outwardly showing as one how proud they were to be Americans because we all know we are stronger together than we are apart,” he said.
The Rev. Arlene Dawber, of the First United Methodist Church of Highland, who led in the benediction, called it not a prayer “but a sending forth.” She said that we must all act as a witness to the events of Sept. 11 and must “live out, act out and pray out – peace and justice in whatever capacity you are in. May the God of love, the God of peace and the God of light be the impetus in your life that you may indeed stand witness as a town, as a community, [and] as individuals.”
Hansut concluded his remarks, saying “I am so very proud of our community and those that serve. God bless you all; God bless America.”
WWII veteran Ben Bragg Sr. commanded the rifle squad in a ‘Prayer to Salute,’ followed by “Mansions of the Lord,” again played by the 20th Century Limited Senior Drum and Bugle Corps. Joseph Avampato concluded with the playing of taps.
By MARK REYNOLDS