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First Responders, Military Honored In 9/11 Ceremony

Local American Legion performing a 21-gun salute during the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in Mayville Friday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

Do you remember where you were on Sept. 11, 2001?

That is often a question one is asked or someone ponders on the anniversary of when more than 3,000 Americans were killed by members of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda, who hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., and in a field in Somerset County in Western Pennsylvania.

Greg Carlson, Chautauqua County Veterans Service Agency director, discussed where he was during the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony hosted by the Local America Legion and Chautauqua County Veterans Council in Mayville Friday. Carlson said he was an Air Force recruiter when the terrorist attacks occurred. He said it was one of those moments he will never forget, like how his grandfather will never forget Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and like how his father will never forget Nov. 22, 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas.

“It was a profound moment that changed everybody’s life,” he said.

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, said Sept. 11, 2001, demonstrates the best and worst in humanity in one day. He said the worst in humanity is the terrorist killing innocent people while the best in humanity was first responders racing into the World Trade Center and Pentagon after the attacks to save lives.

A bugler plays “Taps” during the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

“Nineteen years later, we’re still recognizing the best in humanity,” he said.

County Executive PJ Wendel said he was teaching at Southwestern Central School District when the terrorist attacks happened. He said later that day the teachers and students learned that Amy King, Southwestern alumni, was working as a flight attendant on one of the flights that hit the World Trade Center. Wendel said since that day, King has been an inspiration to many through the memorial run and scholarship in her name.

“If you went to school with her, you knew who Amy was,” he said. “She has been a beacon of hope.”

State. Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, said just like Sept. 11, 2001, 2020 has been a challenging time for many because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said just like 19 years ago, Americans will get through these trying times.

“We are a resilient nation,” he said.

Susan Rowley, Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie Chapter president, said her son has served in the military for the past 15 years while the war on terrorism has been ongoing for 19 years. She said no matter the differences between each of us in the United States, on Sept. 11, 2001, we all became one as we watched the horrific events unfold.

“We were all Americans. We all felt the same loss,” she said.

Following the speakers, the local American Legion performed a 21-gun salute and “Taps.”

The ceremony was held virtually, which can be watched by visiting facebook.com/ChautauquaCountyGovernment.

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