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Fire Chief reflects on 9/11, calls for healing to begin



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Members of the Gilford Fire Station gather around the flag pole in honor of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
September 14, 2011
Things have changed since Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, and members of the Gilford Fire Department are ready to move on to a new beginning, leaving behind images of the attack 10 years ago.

"What hasn't been said..." Chief John Beland began during the fire department's annual remembrance ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11.

"I'm ready to forget the event and the images of that day," said Beland. "I don't want to see those images any more."

Beland said he was ready to move on, and that everyone should focus on a new beginning after 10 years, as things have changed. Ground Zero in New York has been transformed into a memorial to those lost in the attack that day. The country has been through two wars, and now faces new challenges, such as economic struggles. The country and its citizens are not the same as 10 years ago.

Beland said everyone should move on from the infamous day's events, but never forget the individual sacrifice of those workers in the World Trade Center, firefighters, police and Port Authority workers who lost their lives in the attack, those who suffered health complications from responding to the emergency, or those who lost their lives fighting in the recent wars over-seas.

"Let us always remember them and their families," said Beland. "Never forget the promises made to those following 9/11."

Deputy Chief Steve Carrier agreed that it was time to move on, but to continue support of the families affected.

Members of the Gilford Fire Department assembled at the flagpole in front of the fire station and observed the collapse of the South tower at 9:59 a.m. with the ringing of the 5-5-5-5 bell and a moment of silence.

They somberly read the names of the 343 firefighters lost that day.

Beland was pleased to report the success of the Lakes Region Respite Project, which for about two years brought more than 500 families of firefighters and first responders to the Lakes RAegion to reconnect and heal.

According to Carrier, members of the fire department are unsure how long they will continue the traditional remembrance ceremony. He said they will always, however, continue to "honor firefighters and all those who died that day."

AJ Coleman
Varney Smith
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