Attendees at Saturday’s Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony outside the Old Franklin County Courthouse in Union were reminded to remember not only the day of the terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 people but also the day after.
“As we woke up on Sept. 12, we stood united as Americans,” Sheriff Steve Pelton told first responders and residents in attendance of the ceremony for the 20th anniversary of the 2001 attacks. “There was no political divide. There was no race tensions. There was no dissensions toward our military or our first responders.”
First responders from across the country went to assist at the rubble at ground zero in New York while others sent monetary and food donations.
“There’s no doubt that Sept. 11 should be commemorated; we owe it to the victims,” Pelton said. “I do think we owe it to the victims to remember Sept. 12 (and) what this country can be in a time of crisis as well as in a time of peace.”
The attacks changed the country and the firefighting profession, said Union Fire Chief Russell Hamilton.
“The scars of Sept. 11 are forever,” he said. “So, too, must be our efforts in remembering the people, the events and the lessons left behind. We will never forget.”
The Rev. Joseph Post, pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Union, paid tribute to those who ran toward the World Trade Center and fought terrorists on Flight 93 before it crashed in rural Pennsylvania in his opening prayer.
“Christ taught us there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” he said. “As heavy as our hearts are this day, let us not be lost in grief and sorrow only, but rather let many hearts be filled with the gratitude for those who so courageously gave their lives for the sake of others.”
Streets around the courthouse were lined with firetrucks and ambulances from area emergency agencies. The event also included a rifle salute by the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 297 color guard and a ringing of a bell by a firefighter.
The bell was made in dedication to Louis Borgmann Jr., a former firefighter who died in 1987. Former Union Fire Chief Jerry Borgmann, Louis Borgmann’s brother, said it meant a lot to hear the bell ring.
“He had a lot to do with me becoming a firefighter,” Jerry Borgmann said.
Previous ceremonies at the courthouse included one to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011, as well as a dedication of a “Rock of Remembrance” on the first anniversary of Sept. 11 in 2002.
Dave Long, of Union, a former combat medic, was moved by this year’s presentation.
“It was wonderful,” he said. “They said exactly the right things. They emphasized the ‘never forget.’ As a Vietnam veteran, that meant a lot to me.”
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