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'We shall not forget' Moment of remembrance at annual Sept. 11 commemoration

Bob Kennelly, Commander of American Legion Post 33, and Ralph Ascoli put a wreath in Meredith Bay to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
September 16, 2009
MEREDITH — Eight years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, remembrances and messages of honor and were shared in Hesky Park for the annual commemoration hosted by American Legion Post 33.

"It was a day like this, a little sunnier – the kids were back in school," said Pat Kelly. "For thousands of people in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, it was not like any other day. It's for those reasons we remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11."

Kelly asked that people remember those who work on the front lines, such as fire, police, and those fighting overseas.

Traditionally the Fire Department has rung the "Four Fives" in honor of firefighters who were lost. This year, however, a bell was not available and the occasion was instead commemorated with a moment of silence.

"Eight years ago today the United States was rocked by the horror of terrorism," said Lt. Keith True of the Meredith Police Department, saying terrorism remains on the minds of Americans after Sept. 11. He spoke of how things have changed since Sept. 11.

"Daily when we see men and women in military uniforms we think of the daily loss of life," he said. "I just ask that as you think of those who lost their lives, those who will make the ultimate sacrifice, everyday you close your eyes if only for a brief moment in prayer and say 'Thank you, I will not forget,'" True said.

He also spoke of the children who were born in September of 2001 who are now entering third grade.

Meredith Fire Chief Ken Jones recalled traveling by plane this summer for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001 and going through the rigorous security check before boarding. Jones said he did not like the process but later felt he had been selfish.

"What little I had to do to board the plane in my travels (was) very, very little what many families have to do since Sept. 11," Jones said.

"Today we're going to hear the words many times, and there is a benefit to the repetition: 'we shall not forget.'" said Meredith Board of Selectmen Chair Peter Brothers. "As a grateful nation we must express supreme appreciation to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11. Our prayers and appreciation also reaches out to the countless brave and selfless individuals that went out (on response). Please join me in observing this eighth anniversary of Sept. 11."

"It's not only this day that we must remember, it's this day, it's everyday, it's our obligation," said Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro. "If we forget that freedom is not free our country will no longer be free."

Bradlety said he was once given a shirt that said "Got Heroes?"

"We know we have heroes they are amongst us everyday, they are out firefighters, our first responders," Bradley said. "We have our teachers, we have our parents, all of us have those responsibilities to make sure that for those who serve our country and have served our country we take the opportunity to thank them."

American Legion Post 33 Commander Bob Kennelly said the memorial was mostly done through the work of his wife Kay, who died on July 18.

"She was the glue that put this program together," he said.

Kennelly said he and his wife retired to Meredith from New York City, where he worked for Con Edison. His nephew Peter Weinberg was working on the 76th floor for a Japanese company when the building was hit. He helped people get out of the building and escaped himself, though two Japanese executives that stayed behind lost their lives.

"We knew some of the people who died that day," Kennelly said. "The terrorists who committed their dastardly acts were not only going after humans, they were going after the American way. We must remember our homefront soldiers. To the victims of 9/11, I promise not to forget. To the families of 9/11 victims, you have my sympathy and my promise that they did not die in vain. (To those in the military) we must be committed to supporting them … and we must not forget their sacrifice."

Ralph Ascoli lost his sister Debbie Mannetta on Sept. 11, 2001. She was working as a secretary at Carr Futures on the 91st floor of the North Tower when the first plane hit a few months after returning to work after having her daughter and after her husband was promoted to sergeant on the New York Police Department.

"She didn't know that was the last week she would see her 3-year-old go to nursery school," Ascoli said.

Ascoli later said someone in the office handed around a phone after the first plane hit and Mannetta briefly spoke to her husband Kenny to tell him she was fine. She was working at the World Trade Center in 1993 when a bomb was set in the garage area and she recalled the mad rush to leave the buildings.

The family did not know where she was until around October of 2001, and her remains were positively identified in June of 2002

Her daughters are now 11 and 8, and her husband retired from the police force to better take care of them.

"It's everyday, it's not once a year; you feel it this day more than ever," Ascoli said. "You think about the girls having to grow up with no mother."

Ascoli lives in Strafford and said he learned of the Meredith memorial from friend Lainie Rosato, who sang the National Anthem at Friday's memorial.

Ascoli and Kennelly dropped a wreath in Lake Winnipesaukee in honor of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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