by Dave Warner

Saturday was filled with events that honored those who died 20 years ago on the anniversary of 9/11. It started with a solemn ceremony in Burke Park, went on to an excellent display in the Little Falls Public Library, and ended up with the 9/11 walk and picnic at Rotary Park in the afternoon.

Firefighter Scott Kinville opened the ceremony in Burke Park remembering the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The crowd said the Pledge of Allegiance, and then Father Joe Famulare gave an opening prayer. He said, “We are mindful of the sacrifice of public servants who demonstrated the greatest love of all by laying down their lives for a friend.”

Kinville said, “It’s hard to believe that it was 20 years ago today that our lives were forever changed by the horrific terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville Pennsylvania. The attacks of September 11th affected every American, but it particularly impacted the families of the innocent people that lost their lives that day.”

Mayor Mark Blask said, “One of the first accounts of 9/11 that I was reading was that there was a cobalt blue sky. I’d never heard the term cobalt before, but walking across the park today I looked up and this is probably cobalt blue.”

“So many acts. Individual acts by first responders, firefighters, police, and EMS across the board saving lives. 30,000 rescues on that single day,” he stated. “We are so thankful for the first responders who went in.”

Blask said that 100 years ago, President Calvin Coolidge had a great quote about heroism. “He said, ‘heroism is not only in the man, but is also in the occasion.’ Think about that right now. They knew what they were going into. They raised their hand, put on their gear, and went up those steps. True heroes.”

He said that his mind goes back to Little Falls when thinking about the events of 9/11 and how fortunate we are to have the fire department here. “Sometimes I get to see first-hand the work that they do. Furnace Street, Sandy Lane, West Main Street, 2 1/2 blocks from us in Snyder Apartments. That snowy Monday night that I’ll never forget as they were rushing into the building, pulling out our friend.”

Fire Chief Rob Parese said, “I’m sure all of you remember where you were and what you were doing on that sunny Tuesday morning. On that day, the Little Falls Fire Department and surrounding Herkimer County agencies responded to that call without hesitation or delay.”

“As part of the largest mutual aid response in history, myself, Les Condan, and Dave George responded to New York City to assist in the recovery efforts underway in Manhatten. The destruction we witnessed was surreal. In the midst of the nightmare, we saw the best in humankind. Firefighters, police, EMS, and even volunteers from all walks of life, all putting in endless hours and giving selflessly to help put together a City and a nation,” he stated.

The library display included a timeline of events (a set of posters provided to the library by 9/11 Memorial and Museum, 911memorial.org), books and materials available for borrowing, as well as interactive aspects that helped the public honor and remember those lost on that day.

Beginning at 1 pm at Rotary Park, Mohawk Valley  Funerals and Cremations, the Little Falls Youth and Family Center, and M&T Bank had invited all community members, first responders, and veterans to take part in a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on America with a free memorial walk.

Dan Enea, organizer of the event said, “I think the event went beautifully. There was a great turnout. Just the generosity of the entire community and everyone that took part in it was overwhelming. The weather was perfect.”

He went on to say, “I think it’s important that the younger generations are kept aware of what happened on September 11th and that they take part in events such as this.”