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The Suburbanite
  • ‘A day never to be forgotten’

  • First responders from Springfield and Lakemore came together to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and honor the nation's brave first responders.

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  • Bravery doesn’t get a break.
    When the moment demands, brave men and women act. They do it without question and without hesitation.
    That’s what happened 12 years ago when the first responders arrived at the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, just minutes after the first hijacked plane crashed into the glass side. Those who were first on the scene rushed to help and many lost their lives.
    "On this day, 12 years ago, 343 firefighters, 23 police officers, 37 port authority officers (and) 2,819 civilians died in the terrorist attacks on our country," Springfield Fire Capt. Steve Simich during a special 9/11 ceremony Wednesday.
    The ceremony, led by Simich and Springfield Fire Chaplin Rev. Ronald Bryant honored and remembered those that were lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Simich has organized the ceremony for the last 11 years. It’s held always at 9:30 a.m. at the Vince Mealy Bicentennial Gazebo. This year, firefighters from Springfield and Lakemore, police officers, Volunteer Auxiliary Springfield Police members, trustees, township employees and residents attended the ceremony.
    During the invocation, Bryant reminded everyone that "we are to love our enemies and pray for those that have done harm." Acknowledging that it is hard to put into practice, he prayed for God to teach each of us to love that way.
     Years ago, Bryant said, when a firefighter died in the line of duty a special signal was tapped out over the telegraph – five dashes, a pause, five dashes, a pause and five more dashes. The signal became known as the tolling of the bell. It was a signal of honor and respect to all firefighters that made the ultimate sacrifice and it has become a time honored tradition.
    "As a remembrance to those firefighters and officers that died in the line of duty, we will remain silent until the tolling of the bell is complete," said Simich just before tolling of the bell a total of 15 times
    "As I remember, it was a very beautiful morning. I turned on the TV and I thought it was a movie," said Bryant.
    He recounted the images that flooded from the screen – tall building swith the smoke gushing out, people running to escape from falling debris.
    "Seeing that,” Bryant said, “I shared the same feeling as others. It woke us up to reality as it unfolded before our very eyes. It showed us how the reactions of just a few people can change our lives and alter our destiny."
    The bell then tolled for the victims of each incident on that day.
    "We pause to remember those who died in the attacks on New York, Washington D.C., the lives lost on the four hijacked planes as well as the lives lost as we continue the war on terrorism," said Simich.
    Page 2 of 2 - Bryant encouraged those in attendance to remember the victims and their families.
    "Remembering helps us to deal with our loss and grief and to remain vigilant,” Bryant said. “Thank God there are those men and women of our armed forces that work day and night to protect us."
    Sept. 11 is one of those days that Americans will never forget. The events of that day represent some of the greatest heartbreak we can experience. But it also shines a light on some of the bravest moments we have ever seen
    "Today is a remembrance of greatness,” Simich said. “Today is a remembrance of dedication. Today is a remembrance of sacrifice. This is a day that is never to be forgotten."