Sept. 11, 2012 Blue Mass

This Sept. 11, 2012 photo shows law enforcement and clergy at a Blue Mass held at St. Stephen’s Church in commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Similar events will be held tomorrow throughout Oswego County.

Local municipalities to remember fallen heroes on anniversary of terrorist attacks

OSWEGO COUNTY — As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks approaches, several local municipalities this week are honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and who suffered immeasurable pain from that tragic day.

​Throughout the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, more than 2,500 people died as the result of surprise terrorist attacks on American soil from extremist group al-Qaida, who hijacked four aircraft mid-flight and used them to target federal administrative buildings and New York City’s World Trade Center.

​In the wake of the event, the 107th U.S. Congress in 2001 voted into law that Sept. 11 would annually be recognized as “Patriot Day” to honor individuals who died from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

​“We will never forget the heroes and heroism we saw in the days, weeks and months following that attack. Although it was one of our darkest days, the spirit of America was alive and well that day,” U.S. Rep John Katko, R-Camillus, said Thursday. “We cannot forget the lessons we painfully learned that day.”

​The cities of Fulton and Oswego and the village of Phoenix are hosting remembrance ceremonies to mark the significance of the actions taken by those who helped others during the tragic events.

​Today at 2 p.m. at Bullhead Point in Fulton, city officials, community members and emergency services personnel will gather for a Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony. ​A short presentation will feature speakers and will conclude with a procession through the community, according to Fulton Parks and Recreation Director Chris Waldron.

During a Thursday interview with the Palladium-Times, Waldron said the speakers would include Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels, Fulton Fire Chief Adam Howard, Fulton Police Chief Craig Westbrook and Fulton Alliance Church Pastor Steve Nehlsen.

In addition to the speakers, Waldron said a student from the Fulton City School District would sing at the event. Following the ceremony, a procession throughout the city is planned.

​Throughout the morning on Sept. 11, Oswego city officials will hold events to honor those who died because of the attacks.

There will be a Sunrise Run at 6:30 a.m. including members of Team Red, White and Blue, the Oswego Police Department (OPD), and the Oswego Fire Department (OFD). It will start from the OFD Headquarters at 35 E. Cayuga St. and proceed to the Oswego Police Station via East Fourth Street, state Route 104 and West Second Street.

Team Red, White and Blue is a national nonprofit group that strives to “enrich veterans’ lives” through locally or nationally focused events tailored to bringing veterans, their families and their communities together, according to Team Red, White and Blue’s website (www.teamrwb.org).

​OFD Chief Randy Griffin told The Palladium-Times community members interested in viewing the Sunrise Run should restrict themselves to the south side of state Route 104. The north side of the street will be filled with emergency services members holding flags, donning uniforms and saluting the runners, he said.

“It’s a really neat thing to see,” Griffin said. “Behind the runners will be all our fire trucks and other fire trucks from other agencies throughout the area.”

​After arriving at the police station, emergency services members will return to the OFD headquarters and host a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony.

​Griffin said during the solemn ceremony there would be speakers, an honorary bell ringing and a moment of silence.

​Speakers will include Griffin, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow, OPD Captain Damien Waters and OFD Chaplain Father John Canorro, according to event officials.

​According to Barlow, this ceremony will “appropriately honor those lives lost on and following the events on 9/11.”

“We (will) recognize and honor the first responders, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, police officers and ordinary civilians who selflessly, and without hesitation, put themselves in harm’s way to help and save others, most of whom they did not know,” Barlow said.

​Immediately following at 9:15 a.m., local emergency services personnel will lead the community from the OFD station to Breitbeck Park for a Blue Mass, an honorary Catholic event remembering emergency services members, according to Christ the Good Shepherd officials.

Canorro will lead the Mass starting at 10 a.m. Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to follow the emergency services vehicles to Breitbeck Park, event officials said.

​According to Therese Chawgo of CTGS, the last Blue Mass was held in 2011 during the city’s Sept. 11 10-year anniversary; and this year officials opted to bring the event back due to its significance.

​“We want to remember all those people,” Chawgo said. “It has been so long and we don’t want to forget and can’t forget.”

​Also on Sept. 11, the village of Phoenix will host its annual community vigil at Henley Park in memory of those who lost their lives because of the attacks, according to village officials.

​Community members interested in attending the vigil are encouraged to bring candles.

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