ABSECON – Several hundred people, including civic officials, residents, Boy and Girl Scouts crowded the city’s fire department grounds Monday, Sept. 10 to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks 11 years earlier.
At 5 p.m., the scouts and their parents placed 350 flags – one for each 10 victims – along the White Horse Pike where they will remain in place until next week.
Then at 6 p.m., military, police and civic leaders offered their words on the disaster that was the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I thank those in the military for their service to our country so we can hold services like these,” said Absecon Fire Chief Joe Smith.
However, he encouraged other cities like Absecon to remember the citizen heroes who make up the police, fire and EMS departments across the country.
“On a day when everyone was on their way out, they were on their way in to help people,” he said of the New York City firemen, EMS personnel and police officers who died during the terrorist attack Sept. 11, 2001 on the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
“We commemorate one of our nation’s darkest days because silent gratitude is not much use to anyone,” Mayor Pete Elco said. “These people risked their lives while attempting to save others.”
Elco urged all “to remain every strong” and to be “cautious to make sure this will never happen again.”
Elco called the events of Sept. 11, 2001 a “dreadful disaster to humanity.”
The Rev. Heather Sugden of the Reformed Lutheran Church said the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks allowed all “a time to remember, honor and promise.”
She hoped all would remember those who died in the attacks and “honor the ordinary people” who did extraordinary things to save others.
She also hoped those who remember the attacks would now “promise to teach children to help and serve others” like the way the Sept. 11 first responders served others.
Absecon’s remembrance ceremony was created and promoted by the city’s Community Affairs Committee. The group is comprised of Councilwomen Kim Horton and Bobbi Gorman, Councilman Don Camp, Aileen Dey, First Lady JoAnn Elco, Donna Poley, Butch Stewart and Caleb Cavileer.
Master of Ceremonies Michael Monteith also thanked the city’s American Legion and VFW posts, along with residents and civic organizations that donated money to help pay for the flags. They included: Pat Dalton, the Absecon Democrat Club, Mayor Pete Elco and First Lady JoAnn Elco, Helen Fetter, Kathy Forde, Councilwoman Bobbi Gorman, Teresa Iaconelli, Matt and Tina Lawler, Emil and Helen Nardi, June Paprocki, Elaine Risley, Joanne Wescoat and David and Susan Waldman.
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