by Dave Warner

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, New York State Assembly Robert Smullen, and Little Falls Mayor Mark Blask were the guest speakers at the 9/11 remembrance event held Sunday morning at the fire station in Herkimer.

Mayor Blask stated, “It’s such an important day. Twenty-one years ago. 9/11 was such a cataclysmic event that it’s easy to sort of get lost in it when you talk about 3,000 lives and a war that lasted until last August. It was so life-changing. It is very personal to me and a lot of people in this room.”

He went on to say that he thinks about the iconic image of Ladder Truck 118. “There were six members on that truck. It was right on the front of the Daily News. It’s such an iconic photo because it speaks so much. If you remember this picture, it’s right on the Brooklyn Bridge. People are walking over the Brooklyn Bridge away from Manhattan. Ladder Truck 118 is heading towards the twin towers.”

Blask said, “For these six firefighters, there was no illusion about what they were getting into. They knew exactly where they were going and why they were going there.”

“They saved hundreds that day,” he said.

Assemblyman Robert Smullen said, “I want to speak a little bit from the heart about what 9/11 means to, particularly our fire and police that are here today. It’s they who go towards the danger when the call comes, and it’s they, day in and day out, that risk their lives. Not only in our communities but all over the state and our great nation.”

“The spirit of 9/11 is alive today, and it’s alive here in this firehouse, and it’s alive today in this community and this village,” he stated.

Smullen continued, “Here we are today, 21 years later. I hope that we all remember the unity of purpose of that time. When America stood together and when our country was truly united. Despite the tragedy and the terror of 9/11….the sense of unity and purpose, I hope, lives forever.”

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik spoke next and said, “Nearly 3,000 souls tragically perished, including hundreds, and hundreds of brave first responders who selflessly ran into the towers, ran into the fire and gave their lives in service of others, in service of strangers.”

“Our thoughts and prayers remain to this day with the families of the victims and survivors of 9/11 here in New York and beyond. My generation remembers this day as a vivid memory forever etched into our minds. I was a senior in high school in English class. If that makes some of you feel old, I will tell you that as I’m interviewing new staff members today, our high school and college graduates weren’t even born when 9/11 happened,” she said.

“It is incumbent upon us to teach the history of 9/11 to younger generations. To tell the story of every family and every first responder and what happened on that day,” Stefanik stated.

She said, “There is not a fire department in Upstate New York that did not go down to help their fellow New York first responders.”

Stefanik stated, “We also remember the service men and women who gave their lives fighting for our freedom in the years following the attack.”

“Even in the face of terrorism, the strength of the United States of America and freedom always will prevail.”