North Shore community hold remembrance service for those who died on 9/11
September 13, 2011
On Sunday, 9/11 I awoke to the type of day that must have greeted those who went to their jobs in the World Trade Towers on that fatal day ten years ago, never suspecting that they would never be returning home at the end of the work day.
For me the memory of 9/11 will always lay heavy on my heart. All who are old enough to remember will recall where they were on that ill-fated day when al Queda terrorists created havoc, terror, and death on American soil using innocent men and children as captives, in what became tombs of death in cabins of four commercial airliners.
The day before I had arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the start of what was to be an enjoyable fourteen-day trip to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Hearing that airliners had struck both of the Twin Towers just prior to a scheduled trip to Tivoli Gardens, my heart was heavy and filled with fear, away as I was from my beloved homeland, wondering what was happening back home.
The following 12 days were filled with anxiety, as I could only imagine what might be happening back home and how the senseless and brutal terrorist acts were affecting the psyches of the American people.
With this in mind, there was an urgency to drive the short distance to Market Square in Lake Forest from my home in Lake Bluff to participate in the 9/11 remembrance ceremony held by the Lake Forest Fire Department. Present at the ceremony were Lake Forest Police Officers, members of the Lake Forest Fire Department, and representatives from the Knollwood and North Chicago Fire Departments.
Walking the short distance to Market Square after parking my car, I was immediately greeted by the sight of two long ladders which had been raised from fire trucks on opposites sides of the square. Crisscrossing each other, a flag had been hung in the middle of the two extended ladders. The flag was a beautiful sight to see fluttering in the light breeze.
I was pleased to see that at least a hundred plus other residents had turned out to commemorate a day, ten years in the past, which has become a day of reflection. Before 9/11/2001, the American people were peacefully ignorant and seemingly unaware that terrorists would succeed in creating havoc on American soil.
The Lake Forest ceremony was held in front of the fountain in Market Square. The presentation of the colors took place in front of the fountain, where upon the colors were retired at the conclusion of the program to the opposite end of the square.
Initial remarks reminded the 9/11 attendees that 2,416 individuals had died in the Twin Tower attacks, along with 346 fire fighters and 60 police officers. Following was “The “Pledge of Allegiance” led by Mike Gallo, Lieutenant with the Lake Forest Fire Department.
After the “The “Pledge of Allegiance”, there were readings of the “Policeman’s Prayer” by Jim Held, Deputy Police Chief of the Lake Forest Police Department, and “The Fireman’s Prayer” by Andy Barnes, of the Lake Forest Fire Department.
The Bell Ceremony was carried out by Pete Siebert, Battalion Chief of the LFFD, along with Lt. Chief Kevin Cronin. 3 rings, 3 times of the bell signals to firefighters that it is time to go home.
Lake Forest Fire Department Chief, Jeff Howe, made brief remarks of the importance of 9/11 and then asked all gathered to reflect upon the sacrifices that those before us have made. Chief Howe ended his remarks by referencing the “Good Book”: ”Why worry about tomorrow when the day before us has enough troubles of its own.”
A CROYA representative concluded the program with the playing of “Taps”.
Following the ceremony I was drawn to a fire truck that was parked directly in front of the Market Square fountain. I was informed that the 1977 fire truck was owned by Lake Forest Mayor James J. Cowley, Jr. He bought and restored the fire truck; all the gauges are still working. I was also assured that the fire truck is a functioning one.
Mayor Cowley related how his interest in fire trucks stems from having a history of family members who served as fire chiefs in Chicago.
In reflecting upon the day, this nation’s guard cannot be let down. Forgetting would be an acknowledgment that we as Americans have become so preoccupied with our own lives, that after ten long years without a successful attack on our soil, we have been lured into a false sense of security.
History does have a way of repeating itself. As a nation we have made good strides in intelligence gathering, but the terrorists only have to be successful once in what may be a string of many failed attempts.
It can happen again. Our vigil as a people and as a nation must continue unabated.