ABOUT TOWN: Stoughton Officials, Clergy Remember 9/11
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PAIR OF EVENTS HONOR 9/11 ANNIVERSARY: Stoughton held a memorial ceremony for the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks at 9:59 a.m. Sunday, ten years after the World trade Center's South Tower fell in New York.
The ceremony was held at the Freeman St. fire station in the downtown. Acting Fire Chief Mark Dolloff told About Town that his department followed the New York Fire Department protocal of ringing the bell with four sets of five.
He said that the town has done this same thing, every year since the event, to commemorate the 343 firefighters who died that day. As for anything more extensive, Dolloff noted the interfaith prayer service Sunday evening.
"But, by the time anyone gave holding a larger scope event any thought, it was too large to organize any large scale event. The town was tied up with the Tropical Storm Ilene electrical issue, and places like Braintree began planning their memorial ceremony a year ago," Dolloff said.
"We tried to get the giant flag that we flew on July 4 and at town meeting, but they were all being used."
After the ringing of the bell, Firefighter Jay McNamara lowered the flag to half mast. Selectman Cynthia Walsh (the only selectman who attended the event) said, "The weather today is exactly as it was ten years ago. When the flag was posted to half mast, a plane flew overhead. What happened ten years ago is something no one my age will ever forget. It's our Pearl Harbor."
Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins Jr, said, "Our freedoms come at great cost. September 11 is my wedding anniversary. I'll never forget what I saw that day. Even as we speak, half the fire and police department are out on call. We thank them for their service every day. We have the same burden to repay those who sacrificed before us to assure our freedom."
Acting Chief Dolloff said that the New York Fire Department doesn't view September 11, 2001 as just the day that thousands of lives were lost, including the 343 firefighters.
"They look at it as the day when more people were saved than any other day. They estimate that the NYFD and NYPD saved between 10,000-15,000 lives. They looked at it as a lifesaving mission, rather than the large loss of life."
Cindy Pazyra, mother of an Iraq war veteran, added that, "Thousands were deployed due to the events of that day, and thousands lost their lives as a result."
Isabella "Bella" Iacobucci, daughter of Patch's mom columnist Christine Iacobucci, sang "I Love My Country, I Love My Freedom," to the great applause of everyone there. Firefighter Jim Curtin read a touching poem.
On Sunday evening, The Stoughton Clergy Association held a Service of Remembrance at the First Congregational Church of Stoughton.
This was an opportunity for people of all faiths to come together to pray, to sing, to light a candle, and to remember. It really was a wonderful ceremony. A booklet was handled out to the hundred or so people who came, and it had listed ALL the victims of the 9/11 attack. That can be pretty powerful in itself.
Reverend Jean Niven Lenk of First Congregational Church of Stoughton was the hostess of the evening, and her calming voice and healing words were comforting to those still mourning the losses of that day.
Reverend Father Joseph McDermott of Immaculate Conception Church, Reverend Jeffrey Symynkywicz of First Parish Universalist Church, Reverend Alden Flanders of Trinity Episcopal Parish, and Reverend Gary Nettleton of First United Methodist Church all led prayers, had important words of healing, and participated in the service.
The music, of the Community Choir, was just awesome. Directed by Christoper Nickelson, the Choir really knocked me out with their "America: The Spirit Lives On!," a compilation of patriotic songs.
My only issue in a service that really was wonderful--and should have been attended by many more people--was a statement by Rev. Flanders that the terrorists were "children of God." I consider them to be children of Satan, and took the statement as almost blasphemous.
But, after the service, Rev. Flanders told me "They were children of God, but they had fallen." Still, Rev. Symynkywicz, who was listening to the conversation, added, "There's definitely an evil component in there."
The "911/We Remember" Stoughton Community Service of Remembrance was well worth attending. Kudos to the Stoughton Clergy Association for putting it together, and to Rev. Lenk and her parshioners for being such great hosts.
Check back later for a photo gallery of both ceremonies.