It may have caught many people off guard to learn that the city of Gloucester and its Fire Department will not be hosting a public ceremony today to once again commemorate the murderous Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed some 3,000 Americans – hundreds of them firefighters and other rescue personnel.
And it’s encouraging that both Essex’s and Manchester’s fire departments will indeed be hosting ceremonies this morning, while Rockport firefighters and other emergency personnel will mark the day of infamy with ceremonies this evening.
Yet none of those ceremonies — including Gloucester’s — have been particularly well attended, except for the one-year and 10-year anniversaries. And one can make the case that this isn’t necessarily a day for public pomp and ceremony, but instead one for personal and quiet reflection.
All of us can and should indeed never forget what happened that horrific, clear, sunny morning. And all of us should contemplate just how all our lives have changed in the aftermath of those attacks — and they have.
But, while remembering those lives lost, let us also recall the days that followed 9/11, when Americans here on Cape Ann and across the nation joined in a united show of support such as we had not seen since World War II. Let us work toward once again rekindling that spirit. And let us also remember that, as we pause today — public or privately — to reflect upon 12 years past, many of our own family members, friends and relatives are still fighting the war on terror in fields far from home.
The Gloucester Fire Department will ring its bell and issue an alarm this morning in its in-house memorial, recognizing the times of those fateful attacks 12 years ago. But let us all do our own part to reflect, however personally and privately, on that day that forever changed our nation, and our own lives.
Let us all, indeed, never, ever forget.