The fifteenth annual Saugerties remembrance of the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and western Pennsylvania took place on Sunday, September 11 at the veterans’ memorial in the Cantine Field complex.
In his opening prayer, Fr. Christopher Varian of Saint Mary’s Church asked that in addition to remembering the many civilians – firefighters, police and emergency medical workers – the crowd “should remember the many, many soldiers throughout these 15 years who gave their lives in defense of this country during the wars that were caused by that terrible day.”
Assemblyman Peter Lopez said he had had some time to walk through the village. He praised Saugerties specifically and small-town America in general for their air of freedom and for the beauty of their towns and countryside.
Lopez also spoke of “the freedoms and the liberties and the opportunities that go along with being a citizen of this great country.” He said he and his wife were “honored to be with you as we celebrate and commemorate our heroes and those lives lost in the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It is hard to believe that it was 15 years ago …. We witnessed and heard about endless heroic actions of firefighters, police, EMS, military and everyday people who rushed in to save lives and search for the missing regardless of the risk.”
Noting that 15 years later people gather to remember the attack, Lopez expressed pleasure to see the people of Saugerties gathered with candles lit. “We must continue to acknowledge that sorrow, healing and resilience are equally shared in this commemoration.” Even with our divisions, we must find a way to seek peace, he said.
Quoting Rev. Martin Luther King, Lopez concluded, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that; hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” The Schoharie assemblyman ended by asking the assembly to join him in singing God Bless America.
A wreath was laid at the monument to the unknown by Jerry Pearlman of Diaz Ambulance, fire chief David Mason and police officer Larissa Winkler.
In his closing benediction, chaplain Jim Gage said, “With heads bowed in tribute to our fallen brothers and sisters in firematic and police and emergency services, we bring this memorial service to a close. Before we part, think of the families of those who perished, on that never to be forgotten day 15 years ago. For them we pray for continued strength and courage.”