ELBURN – Members of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District and the local community gathered at Station No. 1 the morning of the 16th anniversary of 9/11 to make true on the promise to never forget.
An invocation from the Rev. Christopher DiTomo of St. Gall Catholic Church began the service, where he called for the consolation of the families of victims and to protect first responders, as well as to convert those who would use terror and to lend wisdom to the president, state and local leaders.
Fire Chief Joe Cluchey spoke at the event and urged people to do more than to not forget. He asked for people to remember.
“How could we possibly forget the image of those firefighters running into the building?” Cluchey asked.
He continued by inquiring how anyone could forget the images of civilians who decided their best option was to jump from a building.
“Maybe not forgetting is not the answer," he said, " ... we have to remember."
Cluchey also reminded the assembled audience that for each 9/11 victim, family, friends and loved ones were left to mourn the loss of the victims.
In the act of remembering, Cluchey asked for people to do good where they can whether it’s donating and helping with the disasters the nation is currently going through in Texas and Florida or to help more locally with neighbors who are having a hard time.
“Instead of acting out of hate, let’s act out of kindness,” Cluchey urged. “I’m not asking people to act recklessly. We can change our corner of the world by trying to be more kind, more purposeful. … It doesn’t have to be heroic to make a difference.”
Lt. Chris Mulvihill also spoke at the event, but the words he used were not his own; he spoke using an excerpt of President George W. Bush’s words from that fateful day on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom, came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts,” Mulvihill recited. “The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge – huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.”
As part of the ceremony, a wreath was laid before an American flag and a bell was rung three times in succession, three times, to symbolize the passing of the firefighters and to tell them “their task is completed, their duty was well done and they are going home.”
DiTomo ended the service with an Irish blessing.