SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Police Department is pleased to share that a ceremony will be held Friday to honor the first responders and military service members who died in the line of duty 20 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Throughout their careers, first responders are often faced with unpredictable and dangerous situations yet respond courageously and without hesitation, and it was no different on Sept. 11, 2001. They rushed in that morning to save lives, and many of them gave their own lives in the process,” Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said. “It is important that we never forget the heroic work and sacrifices of those fallen police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and U.S. military service members, and it is our honor to pay tribute to them each year as well as the families they left behind.”
The ceremony will take place Friday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. in front of the 9/11 memorial in Riverfront Park, 1360 W. Columbus Ave. It is coordinated and hosted by local nonprofit the Spirit of Springfield, which holds several community events throughout the year.
Words of remembrance will be offered by Commissioner Clapprood, Fire Commissioner Bernard J. Calvi and representatives from emergency medical services and the 104th Fighter Wing of Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield. Mayor Domenic Sarno will provide the welcome message at the ceremony.
There will also be a roll out of emergency equipment, tolling of the bells, laying of a wreath, a rifle salute and the playing of taps.
The ceremony will take place in front of the 9/11 memorial, which is permanently showcased in Riverfront Park. The monument includes a 9.5-foot structural steel beam from the World Trade Center, which was donated to the Spirit of Springfield by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
A bronze wall is also featured as part of the memorial, engraved with the names of 498 first responders lost in the attacks. At nighttime, a spotlight illuminates a silhouette of the Twin Towers on the wall.
The memorial was unveiled in 2019 and dedicated to the public safety personnel who died in the attacks. It was gifted by the Spirit of Springfield to the City of Springfield in 2020.
Mayor Sarno states, “On this 20th Anniversary commemorating the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we honor and must never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to save others. We continue to honor their memory and courageous bravery. Our brave and dedicated first responders are always in our hearts and prayers, especially now as we hold this remembrance ceremony amid this current COVID-19 pandemic. They are the ones who are running into the buildings to save lives, while everyone else is running out.”
“One thing I remember vividly from these tragic events, is the sense of strong patriotism, love and togetherness we all showed following 9/11,” Mayor Sarno added. “Although we all suffered, cried and grieved that fateful day, we showed our true American spirit and kinship by coming together in the hours and days afterwards. We stood as one Nation, one people, united! It was beautiful and so great to see such positive energy, love and compassion from everyone in response to those horrific events. I think at times we easily forget our common bonds and the things that bring us together as a Nation and as Americans. We get distracted by those who wish to try to divide us. America is still the greatest Nation on Earth. We are the beacon of democracy and liberty and the envy of the world. We as a Nation, a State and as a City have endured so much over these years, but in the end we always come out stronger for the better, and together as one. God Bless the United States of America and God Bless the City of Springfield.”
Media note: Springfield Police Deputy Chief Rupert Daniel is available to speak with the media via Zoom regarding the events of 9/11. He is retired Army Special Forces and served in the United States Army for 39 years, serving two tours in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq.