9/11 Remembered In Ceremony At County Courthouse

A 9/11 remembrance ceremony, hosted by the Chautauqua County American Legion and the Chautauqua County Veterans Council, was held at the Chautauqua County Courthouse on the 16th anniversary of the tragic events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. Government officials are pictured below. P-J photos by Gavin Paterniti

MAYVILLE — With full hearts and a clear blue sky above, a small ceremony was held outside the Chautauqua County Courthouse on Monday in remembrance of the tragic events that occurred in our nation exactly 16 years prior.

The ceremony was attended by a handful of community members, as well as dignitaries Vince Horrigan, Chautauqua County executive, and state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown — both of whom commented on the resiliency of the nation in a time of crisis, while paying their respects to the lives lost and the heroism of first responders on that day.

“This is a bittersweet day for all of us,” Goodell began. “On the one hand you had 3,000 American citizens who woke up on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and went into work with the intention of contributing to their families, their communities and their country and who were tragically taken from us in an instant for simply doing their job. On the other hand, you have the first responders who saw the (World Trade Center) towers on fire and knowingly put their lives at risk and ran into those buildings in an effort to save other peoples’ lives. Today, we pause to remember those lives lost and the heroism of those men and women who sacrificed their safety and, in some cases, their own lives.

“But in the last 16 years, we’ve proven that the terrorists were wrong when they thought they would change the United States by making us fear terror. Since that day, we have rebuilt Ground Zero with the Freedom Tower, which is a phenomenal reminder to the world that America will always rise from the ashes.”

Horrigan thanked those who attended the ceremony, and shared his take on America’s response to tragedy.

“Today, we remember that this nation is precious and our liberty is precious, and it can be taken away in a moment’s notice,” Horrigan said. “But what can never be taken away is the resilience of our great country. This nation, although often divided politically, does come together to overcome great tragedy. It’s who we are, and for that I truly am thankful.”

Other community leaders also spoke at the event including Paul Oyer, commander of the Chautauqua County American Legion; Greg Carlson, director of the Chautauqua County Veterans Service Agency; and Henry Link, Chautauqua County Veterans Council president, who said the turnout at Monday’s ceremony was the highest he has seen.