Can it really be two decades since the Twin Towers fell? This week marks the 20th anniversary of a horrific event that shaped American national security and foreign policy in profound ways in the years that followed, even as it made its indelible mark in the memories of the Millennial generation. Enhanced appreciation this year for first responders, healthcare workers and others providing essential services on the frontline of the COVID crisis should add extra poignancy and resonance to commemorations of the tragedy of 9/11/01, and the sacrifices that it required of so many, on this significant date.
September 11, 2021 falls on a Saturday, which means that many nine-to-fivers will be able to attend one of the local commemorative events. Here are some of your options in Ulster County:
4 to 9 p.m. — Ulster County Fairgrounds, 249 Libertyville Road
Ulster County Salutes Our Heroes is an event designed to remember the victims of 9/11 and their families, but even more so to honor the heroic first responders who rushed to the Twin Towers, many losing their lives in the effort to evacuate trapped workers. Live music, food and honored speakers will be featured. New Paltz resident Tom Lenahan will be giving a speech about his firsthand experience on 9/11. He was late that morning for his job in Battery Park; when he emerged of the subway, the first plane had already hit. Unsure what had happened, he witnessed a tremendous amount of the chaos in the vicinity of the towers as he made his way to safety.
Hosted by Ulster County, this commemoration was organized by Mitch Serlin, a retired Westchester County K9 police officer and US Army 101st Airborne scout sniper who founded the Hope for Heroes Project in 2010 after struggling for many years with PTSD. The organization’s mission is to create experiences that are therapeutic, as well as physically and emotionally possible, for disabled military veterans, police officers, firefighters and EMTs. These include outdoor outings like hunting, deep-sea fishing, boating, hiking, kayaking, camping and competition barbecues. To host more such outings, Hope for Heroes is currently raising funds for the construction of a handicapped-accessible lodge on a 120-acre site in Hillsdale.
8:30 a.m. — New Paltz Community September 11th Memorial
North Putt Corners Road & Henry W DuBois Drive
Timed to coincide with the 8:46 a.m. impact of American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001, this ceremony will remember the tragic event and honor all who mobilized to respond.
Firefighters remember 9/11 and raise money for families
Woodstock firefighters will once again hike up Overlook Mountain on September 11 as part of the National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters to raise money for the families of those killed in the line of duty.
This is the second year Woodstock will participate, starting the climb at 8:00 a.m., the time when the first plane struck the World Trade Center.
The hike is about the same as the 110 flights of stairs firefighters climbed the morning of 9/11 and the round trip is a symbolic 9.11 kilometers. Some will be hiking in full turnout gear, which weighs about 45 pounds.
Last year, Woodstock firefighters’ efforts raised $6000 for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. This year, they’ve raised more than $8000.
Participating in Saturday’s climb are Chief Kevin Peters, Capt. Nash Burke, Capt. Ryan Peters, Lt. Karen Pignataro, Capt. Lorraine Brink, Firefighter Baris Demirel, Firefighter Evan Holland, Firefighter Taylor Peters, EMT Pete Caigan, Firefighter Symon Hallam, Firefighter Paul Rolnick, Lt. Dawn Neal Ellsworth, EMT Jane Pike and Firefighter Jonathan Bloom.
Donations are accepted year-round through firehero.com or writing a check payable to National Fallen Firefighter Foundation and sending it to Woodstock Fire Department, Attn: Lt. Pignataro, 242 Tinker St., Woodstock, NY 12498.
12:45 p.m. — SUNY Ulster, 491 Cottekill Road
A live commemoration with a life-goes-on sports theme will take place on the Soccer Field, beginning with a Presentation of the Colors from the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard. Alumna Marena Clunie will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” A ceremonial gift exchange from the SUNY Ulster women’s and men’s soccer teams to the visiting team from Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences will follow. There will be a moment of silence to honor the fallen, after which alumnus Scott Benson of Hudson Valley Bagpipe will play “Amazing Grace.” The colors will then be retired.
At 1 p.m., SUNY Ulster’s women’s soccer team will play against Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. At 3 p.m., SUNY Ulster’s men’s soccer will play against Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.
This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be for sale by the SUNY Ulster Varsity Club.
Visitors attending the event need to check in at the Senate Gym upon arrival to complete screening questions and be issued a wristband. SUNY Ulster is requiring face masks throughout campus facilities and grounds, regardless of vaccination status. Social distancing for spectators is also highly encouraged during the event.
Also, on Friday, September 10, SUNY Ulster will post a Virtual Remembrance Ceremony on the College’s YouTube and Facebook Channels. This prerecorded presentation will include remarks from SUNY Ulster president Dr. Alan P. Roberts, vice president Kevin Stoner, professor Ray Raymond, Reverend Dr. Allison Moore of The Pantry at SUNY Ulster, Meg Sheeley, dean of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and student government leaders. It will also include a musical performance by alumni Marena Clunie and Alex Herrling.
3:30 p.m. — Widow Jane Mine, 668 Route 213
A musical commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 will be presented in this evocative, somber setting by singer/songwriter/pianist Sarah Perrotta and classical guitarist David Temple. “Let’s bring some lights and music into the caves!” says Perrotta, who organized a 9/11 benefit concert in the Widow Jane Mine 20 years ago.
Attendees are invited to bring folding chairs and dress warmly for the underground location. General admission costs $20 per person, $15 for members of the Century House Historical Society; kids aged 12 and under get in free. A portion of the proceeds of this Saturday’s concert will go toward the American Red Cross, which provided relief on 9/11 and continues to provide relief for the current disasters we face.
6 to 7 p.m. — Cantine Veterans’ Memorial Complex, 4 High Street
Cantine Field will host a 9/11 Salute to Uniformed Public Service and a 20th Anniversary Ceremony, open to the public.
8:30 a.m. — September 11 Memorial Event
Firemen’s Park at the intersection of Washington and Hurley avenues
Mayor Steven Noble and the City of Kingston Fire Department have announced that the September 11 memorial event to commemorate the 20th anniversary will be held on Saturday, September 11 at 8:30 a.m. in Firemen’s Park at the intersection of Washington and Hurley avenues, gathering at 8:30 a.m. and beginning the ceremony at 8:46 a.m., marking the exact time the first plane struck the towers. Chief Mark Brown will give remarks and lead the program, which will include Jolie Dunham singing the national anthem, Ulster AOH playing bagpipes, KFD firefighters laying a wreath and members of the VFW giving a 21-gun salute. Reverend David Brechter, the Fire Department Chaplain, will also speak.
“On the 20th anniversary of this tragic event, the community is invited to come together to recognize those we lost that day and to take a moment to thank all of the members of our public safety community who risk their own lives to help others,” said Mayor Noble.
From 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on September 11, the southbound lane of Washington Avenue and the northbound lane of Schwenk Drive will be closed to traffic. Parking is available at nearby Dietz Stadium.