Ceremonies to mark 20th anniversary of 9/11

An Oakfield firefighter walks the streets of the village about a year ago to honor the New York City firefighters who lost their lives due to 9/11. This year, observances in places including Albion, Batavia and Brockport, will take place to mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

There will be at least a few different events taking place Saturday as the GLOW region commemorates the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

In Batavia, Veness Strollo Post 1602 V.F.W., 25 Edwards St. plans to have an observance starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“We will do a ringing of the bell and a moment of silence for each moment an aircraft struck,” said John Woodworth of the Veness Strollo Post. He noted the first plane struck World Trade Center North Tower at 8:46 a.m. on 9/11. The second plane struck the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. A third plane struck the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. and the last plane crashed near Shanksville, Pa., at 10:03 a.m. The remembrance is expected to go until about 10:30 a.m. and end with a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. There will be a jamboree from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to honor first responders. Bill Pitcher will perform, as will Julio Morales Jr., The Front Porch Pickers and Old State Road House. Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Batavia City Councilperson-At-Large Bob Bialkowski will be speakers. The City and Town of Batavia will each have a fire truck on display and the Batavia Police Department will have a patrol car on display and possibly a K-9 unit, Woodworth said.

Separate from the ceremony, there will be an event at which WNY Heroes, Veterans Affairs, the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency, Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. and the Veterans Outreach Center will have tables.

“The majority of them are setting up around 10 a.m. to let veterans and their family members know what’s available to them,” Woodworth said.

In Albion, the Orleans County 9/11 Memorial on the front lawn of the Orleans County Courthouse will host a ceremony at 6 p.m. Saturday. County Chief Coroner Scott Schmidt said he and Director of Orleans County Emergency Management Dale Banker were involved in the planning. Schmidt said he responded to Ground Zero in New York City for about three weeks after the attacks as part of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team. which is under the Department of Health and Human Services, National Disaster Medical System.

Schmidt said there will be a welcome by county Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson, an invocation Orleans County Sheriff’s Department Chaplain Don Snyder. Banker will read the timeline of events of from Sept. 11, 2001 and offer some observations, and Schmidt will be the keynote speaker. Alec Sherman will sing “America the Beautiful” followed by a rifle volley and taps by the Orleans County Military Honor Guard.

“Every county fire department, law enforcement and EMS agency and all the veterans service groups have been invited,” Schmidt said. The public and other groups from the region are also invited, he said.

“We had roughly 150-200 people last year, a wonderful crowd, a good day,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said he was told state Sen. Robert Ortt, along with Assemblymen Stephen Hawley and Michael Norris, all of whom represent Orleans County, are going to attend, but not speak.

“The whole ceremony should last no longer than 30 minutes,” Schmidt said. “It’s the 20th anniversary, It’s a milestone and we find ourselves in a precarious situation around the world, just like we did after the attacks.”

In Brockport, the Brockport Firefighter’s Memorial Monument, near Brockport Fire Department Station No. 4, 237 S. Main St., will be the site of a ceremony Saturday.

The opening ceremony will be at 8:30 a.m. A uniformed Honor Guard will be present from 8:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. At 8:47 a.m., flags will be lowered to half-staff and the ringing of Bell 5-5-5-5 will take place. The closing ceremony for the raising of the flags will be at 6:30 p.m.

All firefighters, first responders military personnel and community members are welcome to stop by and pay their respects at the monument. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, masks are recommended when a person is close to others. The fire station and museum will be open for visits. Cool water and restroom facilities will be provided.

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