Sara Haghdoosti and her son presented handmade thank you cards to Evanston first responders. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)
More than 100 people gathered on Saturday morning for a 9/11 memorial service hosted by the Evanston Fire and Police Services in honor of the brave men and women who lost their lives 20 years ago, the September 11, 2001.
Many who attended the service, held at Firemans Park, said they remembered where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of the terrorist attacks in New York City. Some who attended the ceremony were too young to have personal memories of the day; others were not yet born. They all came to express their gratitude to the first responders who ran into danger instead of running away 343 firefighters died trying to save the lives of people they didn’t know.
Prior to the service, Pastor Monte Dillard spoke with the Round Table.
I am happy to be one of the two chaplains of the Evanston Fire Department. I still remember where I was when I learned that the first plane hit the [north] Tower working my access road to Calumet bank. I worked for a bank. I just remember the impact it had. Our Bible study was packed that night. And, for the next 20 years, that has never fallen too low in my memory, said Pastor Dillard, who is also Senior Pastor of the First Church of God, 1524 Simpson St.
Evanston resident Sara Haghdoosti attended the ceremony with her young son, for whom the date is history rather than memory. Like Pastor Dillard, they were in Firemans Park by 7:30 am, greeting Evanston first responders.
We have come to say thank you to the firefighters and first responders who take care of our community, Haghdoosti said.
The service began with the display of colors by the Evanston Fire and Police Department Honor Guard and bagpiper Brian Crabby, followed by the national anthem, sung by Bella Chiocca.
Evanston Fire Chief Paul Polep thanked singer Chiocca and greeted everyone who attended the ceremony. He thanked the police, firefighters and military personnel, as well as the many Evanston residents and distinguished guests who attended, including Mayor Daniel Biss, City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza and members of council.
Chief Polep introduced Pastor Dillard and Chaplain Rodney Greene for the invocation and reflection portion of the program.
As we have all gathered here, 20 years after September 11, let us always remain grateful and remember those who selflessly gave their lives, while also being grateful to those, many of whom are here with us, who are ready to do it today. , if necessary, said Pastor Dillard in his reflection.
Evanston Police Department chaplain Rodney Greene cited a firefighter who was at Ground Zero where the World Trade Center towers fell.
If we have learned nothing else from this tragedy, we have learned that life is short and that there is no time for hate, Chaplain Greene said, continuing in his own words: the differences we have and sorting things out as a unit, as a tribe, as a family.
Mayor Daniel Biss presented thoughts of honor and remembrance. (Photo by Evan Girard)
In his remarks, Mayor Biss thanked everyone who attended the ceremony for giving your time this morning to reflect with us on what happened exactly 20 years ago, at this minute, and at what that we learned over the next 20 years.
Mayor Biss spoke at 7.45 a.m., or 8.45 a.m. in New York. At that time, two decades ago, a plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Below is an excerpt from the mayors’ tribute to the 9/11 first responders.
Those of us who are old enough to remember will never forget what that day was.
We saw that terrifying Tuesday morning countless first responders rush through this hell, while the rest of us just tried to figure out what was going on. Yes, many gave their lives. Many, many more were seriously injured. And many, many, many more have put themselves at untold and incomprehensible risks just because that’s what they do.
We have seen it and we have learned the bond that unites us all and the responsibility we all have towards one another. We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to those who took this step that day, who made that ultimate sacrifice that day, who in this moment of panic and confusion did all they could, no matter what. ‘be the consequences, to protect us
I would ask each of us not only to say thank you and then to go home, but rather to remind ourselves of what this tells us about our duty to each other, our role in this unified human fabric, about what we ourselves have to do to hold this fabric together. And sometimes to make sacrifices to protect those we love, those who live around us, and those we may not even know.
Bell ceremony and taps by EFD and EPD Honor Guard / Murray Gordon. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)
Acting Police Chief Aretha Barnes remembered the fallen heroes of the Americas and those who carry on their legacies.
We come together in remembrance as we celebrate two decades of honoring the countless dead, those who made the ultimate sacrifice, police, firefighters, military and civilians. Loved ones left behind to carry the torch and keep the flame alive. I often hear people say that they remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news that fateful day, September 11, 2001. Our lives are forever changed and will never be the same again. We must never forget, said Chief Barnes.
Chief Barnes invited Mark Shore, a 9/11 survivor and former Evanston resident, to share his memories and thoughts on the day. Mr. Shore, an ETHS alumnus, worked in the South Tower of the World Trade Center in the Morgan Stanley offices.
When i went out [of the south tower] I saw the two towers on fire, not knowing there was a second plane. Being on the streets of New York at that time was very surreal. There were a lot of rumors about what was going on, Shore said.
After finally making his way to a Morgan Stanley office in midtown Manhattan, Shore was able to connect with his family. He waited three hours for the ferry that took him to his home in Hoboken, New Jersey. All other modes of transport had been locked out.
Part of that is thinking about what has happened since. Since 2011, I have been a professor at DePaul University. When I started teaching there, the students were old enough to remember September 11th. Now students, especially undergraduates, weren’t even born. His story for them
Evanston firefighters take down the flag after the 9/11 ceremony. (Photo by Evan Girard)
Evanston Fire Chief Polep gave the closing speech.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on our country. I wouldn’t call it a special day because there is nothing special about being attacked. But it’s a day we must never forget A day the lives of millions of Americans changed. Chief Polep.
He stressed that the most important thing to remember on this day was how our country came together to help those in need. How people put others first, and themselves second, because it’s the right thing to do
Today is absolutely a day when we should never forget our deaths and the sacrifices of so many people. But also realize that it shouldn’t take a day of horrific events to come together and make things better. by giving us rights and freedoms that many others do not have by leading, building and giving examples of what law looks like. We can do it, but we have to do it together
We will never forget the tragedy, but we will always remember how this country came together and was strong, Chief Polep said in conclusion.
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