TOM ZOTTI, Wolfeboro Fire and Rescue Department Deputy Chief, spoke in honor of the fallen firefighters and their brave companions who fought the blazing fires and choking smoke to save occupants of the twin towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 during a ceremony held at the Wright Museum last Wednesday, Sept. 11. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
September 19, 2013WOLFEBORO — On Wednesday, Sept. 11, people gathered at the Wright Museum to commemorate the lives of the fallen in the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, now 12 years ago.
In the course of the ceremony, they prayed, sang and listened to the solemn remembrances from participants as they recalled the day that two planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, as people all over the country watched the event live on television in stunned horror.
John Rico, performing the duty of master of ceremony, introduced musician and fellow organizer Bob Viscio, the Rev. David Lindsay, Vince Maratos, Lew Williams, Wolfeboro Deputy Fire Chief Tom Zotti, Wolfeboro Police Department Lt. and Army Colonel Dean Rondeau, Captain Derek Rondeau and Airman Second Class in the Air National Guard Kelsey Hannafin, as they all took a turn in the ceremony.
Rondeau, standing at the podium in army fatigues, struggled to gain composure when he began to talk to the crowd, saying, "It never gets any easier" in reference to the event and the loss of men and women who have lost their lives since that day in wars fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. He commented that they served "knowing full well what they were getting into," and said that he was "extremely proud" of their service.
His son, Derek, an Army Infantry Captain, recalled watching images of smoke filling a clear sky on Sept. 11, 2001, and remembered saying a prayer with his fellow football team members. Since then, he said, "We have taken the fight to the enemy."
In the course of taking on the "burden of command" shared the younger Rondeau with sadness, " I was "not able to bring all my soldiers home. That's a responsibility that weighs heavily on me, especially on this day." Yet, he continued, "The flag on my right sleeve is always waving tall and proud. We owe it to the fallen to move forward."
He commended the fire fighters who "walked into the towers", the workers who built the memorial and the children who lost their parents that day, who continue to "realize the dreams of their parents."
Zotti spoke of being in Boston this year during the Boston Marathon and experiencing the chaos following the bombing. For him, it was "a reminder that terrorism is still with us." He offered the hope that "someday we can strike a balance."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Rico offered a prayer for Jeff Adjutant, the man organized the ceremony for all the previous years, who has since passed away.
Rico and Viscio both finished with thanks for those who joined them and encouragement to others to attend next year.