Eleven years after terrorist attacks were made on American soil, town residents gathered in front of Norton Fire Department for a ceremony to remember those whose lives were lost as a result.
Additions to this year's service were the Flag of Honor and Flag of Heroes. The stripes on the flag of Honor were created from the names of those who perished on 9/11 using the most up to date information from the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Those on the Flag of Heroes are made up of 343 names, ranks and affiliations of the first responders lost on 9/11 including firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians. The flags were flown in Battery Park New York last year during the 10th anniversary memorial service.
"Sadly, the number of death of public safety personell as a result of these attacks contine to rise as many of the first responders to the tower collapse site who spent days working the piles were exposed to an assortment of unknown chemicals and toxins," said Norton Fire Chief Paul Schleicher. "Many are suffering with severe lung impairments and many have already died from those impairments. I'm sure many of the civilians lucky enough to have escaped the collapse but caught in the toxic cloud are suffering and dying as well. All the more reason to make sure we take the time to honor those who died or are suffering as a result of these attacks."
While many of the observers Tuesday were adults, there were a few children in attendance listening to various accounts of that day 11 years ago. Town Manager Michael Yunits noted he was watching a television program that discussed 18 year olds who don't really remember the attacks because they were only 7 at the time.
"We have to keep reminding people of what people will do to attack our country," Yunits said. "They are jealous of what we have; the great freedoms and liberties we have in our country. And I just hope we always remember what happened on that day."
Retired Chief George Burgess recalled being in a seminar with several Chiefs when he got the call from dispatch.
"I'll never forget, nor should anyone here forget," he said. "I can still hear the bagpipes, I can still hear 'Amazing Grace.' It brings tears to my eyes."
State Senator James Timilty spoke about America's response to the attacks, and how terrorists meant to end our way of life. "What it did, in very short order, was it galvanized this great nation. Flags popped up all over the country and people came together," he said. "It shows what a tremendous nation we are."
Also included in the service was a prayer led by Pastor Bernie Hinckley of Trinitarian Congregational Church, a reading of "The Firefighter Prayer" by fireman Andy Burgess and the ringing of the firehouse bell by Stacia Khorey and Chris Ferreira. The bell is traditionally rung at the end of an alarm to notify the department that the site is clear and everyone is on their way back.