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Ceremony honors those lost on 9/11



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Jim Shannon and son, Ryan, stand by their collection of flags representing every organization that responded to the crisis on 9/11 19 years ago. (Photo by Elissa Paquette) (click for larger version)
September 16, 2020
WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro Fire and Rescue Department held a ceremony outside at the Public Safety Building on Sept. 11 to honor those who died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the many who bear lifelong consequences from that tragic day.

The air attack by members of Al Qaeda with commandeered commericial airliners, smashed the western side of the Pentagon and caused the collapse of the two World Trade Center towers, a sight beheld by many as they ran for their lives amid smoke and ash, and others who watched in horror on live television. Chief Skantze, speaking to those assembled in the parking lot, noted it was the deadliest terrorist attack in history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in our country with a death toll of 343 Firefighters and 72 Law Enforcement Officers.

He honored them and called attention to the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who voted to take on the hijackers when news spread of the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. Passenger Tom Beemer was able to let authorities know of the revolt, which managed to take the plane off its destructive course. The plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board.

The GTE operator who took Beamer's call said his last words were, "Let's Roll."

"I am so proud and grateful for Todd Beamer and what he and other citizens and flight attendants did for his country, the example he and others set that day," said Skantze.

"I'm proud of those firefighters, police officers and responders who responded to the attacks, initiated rescues, conducted recovery operations and who accepted their 'Let's Roll' moment. It took courage, it took bravery and it took character," Skantze intoned.

Police Chief Dean Rondeau remarked on the tragedy with a remembrance of how everyone came together at that time, a time that he said he finds himself longing for in the country's presently divided stance.

"United we stand, divided we fall," he concluded.

Retired flight attendants Lindy Viscio (United Airlines) whose plane had to return to London midflight, and Linda Greeley, who would have been on the fateful voyage of American Airlines Flight 11 were it not for a last minute schedule change not of her doing, tearfully recalled the day and their friends who perished.

Bob Viscio performed "God Bless America" and as the audience sat in silence and flags moved softly in the September air, Wolfeboro Central Dispatch sounded a tone for all personnel to hear, a symbol of honor and respect for all firefighters who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

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