Eighteen years after Americans around the nation watched the events of Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, firefighters, police officers, other emergency personnel and Cape Ann residents will take part Wednesday in ceremonies aimed at ensuring that unforgettable day will not be forgotten.
The attacks claimed the lives of 2,983 people. Among them was Ralph Francis Kershaw, a 52-year-old marine surveyor from Manchester-by-the-Sea who was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175 when it struck the World Trade Center's south tower. The husband and father was was en route to Singapore, via Los Angeles, to inspect a yacht.
Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester and Essex will all host 9/11 remembrance ceremonies at their primary firehouses tomorrow. There also be a memorial display, featuring a 9/11 quilt, open to the public in Kyrouz Auditorium at City Hall, 9 Dale Ave., through approximately noon on Sept. 11.
Firefighters, police, military personnel and elected officials will conduct an observance ceremony at 9:55 a.m. at Fire Department Headquarters, 8 School St.
"Each year, we host this ceremony to remember the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks," fire Chief Eric Smith said in a prepared statement. "It is a somber day for us all, and it's important that we continue to gather as a community on this anniversary to remember all those who lost their lives that day."
The ceremony will begin with an opening statement from Smith and a prayer by Chaplain Peter Aberle of the Orthodox Congregational Church in Lanesville. The city will also hold a moment of silence, and in the tradition of the Fire Department of New York City, the Gloucester Fire Department will symbolically strike a "5-5-5-5" alarm on a ceremonial bell to remember those who died in the line of duty on Sept. 11, 2001.
"This ceremony is an opportunity for our city to come together and support each other, as we always do in difficult times," Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said. "Thank you to the Gloucester Fire and Police Departments, Harbormaster, Veterans' Services and Coast Guard for coming together to hold this ceremony, and remembering this very difficult day in our nation's history."
Romeo Theken's office and the Fire Department's Women's Auxiliary will host a reception at City Hall, 9 Dale Ave. following the ceremony. While there, attendees can take in the display in Kyrouz Auditorium organized by Gloucester resident Dan Leahy, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War who was working at the World Trade Center at the time of the 1993 and 2001 terror attacks, and his wife Brenda Leahy. Besides a 9/11 quilt and other memorial items, a video will be available to answer questions about the terror attacks. The display will be open to about noon.
Rockport invites community members to attend its ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at Central Fire Station, 37 Broadway.
"The Rockport Fire Department has a long history and tradition of honoring fallen firefighters and gathering to support its membership and families of those in the service who were injured or lost," said Schmink, who is also the assistant police chief.
The Rev. Matthew Wigton will offer an invocation, Cheryl Keating will sing the national anthem, Pastor Derek Van Gulden will offer a benediction, the Fireman's Association will strike the "four fives (5-5-5-5)" alarm, and Firefighter Eric Beaulieu will perform "taps" to close the ceremony.
“The fire service and its membership continue to show support for the community and each other," Doyle said in a prepared statement. "This is just another example of how we honor the lives and memories of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to others.”
Manchester's Fire Department will host a remembrance service beginning at 9:45 a.m. at the fire station, 12 School St. The public is invited to attend.
The Essex Fire Department will host a 9/11 Memorial Service on Wednesday, also at 9:55 a.m. in front of the Memorial Building Fire Station, 24 Martin St. "The short service allows us to reflect and remember those individuals who lost their lives during the terror attacks of September 11, 2001" the department said in announcing the event. Retired firefighters and the public are encouraged to attend.