News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Gathering for 9/11 a dozen years later

  • "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," said Brent McQueen, who came to the Hawley 9/11 ceremony Wednesday, bearing a US flag and another with the historic slogan, "Don't Tread on Me."
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  • "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," said Brent McQueen, who came to the Hawley 9/11 ceremony Wednesday, bearing a US flag and another with the historic slogan, "Don't Tread on Me."
    He was one of several people who shared a few words, about the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks a dozen years ago, their enduring impact and resolve America still requires today.
    Today's high school seniors were in 1st grade when the hijacked airliners struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and another forced to the ground over a Pennsylvania field when passengers rose and denied the terrorists of another of their targets.
    Robert Essex, of Hawley, a retired New York Port Authority Policeman, said there has been concern that attendance at 9/11 memorial events would dwindle, as he saw happen after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Essex was among the emergency responders at the World Trade Center in 2001. He said he wouldn't speak about it for years.
    Along with several more volunteers they raised funds and made the arrangements for the memorial in Bingham Park, dedicated two years ago on the 10th anniversary. Last year there was only a small gathering of about a dozen people on September 11th. Essex and fellow committee volunteer Susan Baldwin pledged to organize an event for 2013.
    This year there were approximately 40 in attendance, a number Essex hopes will grow in coming years. Hawley Borough Police and members of the Hawley and Lakeville Fire Departments, as well as Borough Council members were present.
    Baldwin, who had first raised the idea of starting a memorial, said that a flagpole is needed at the site. With the blessing of Borough Council, she hopes that someone will be willing to donate a pole.
    Rev. Colleen Cox of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hawley, opened in prayer and invited all to read along with a poem she distributed. It speaks of unity in the face of tragedy.
    In part: "As the soot and dirt and ash rained down, We became one color... As we carried each other down the stairs of the burning building, We became one class... As we retell with pride the sacrifices of heroes, We become one people..."
    Lu Seagraves asked God's blessing on everyone who gave their lives on 9/11. She related that their deaths were acts of murder; an act we will never forget.
    Another man stated that we all need to have the same courage as the brave passengers on Flight 93 who subdued their hijackers.
    Council President Donald Kyzer thanked the committee that worked so hard to put the Hawley memorial together.
    Vinny DeMarinis, shared that he was a 20-year member of the New York Fire Department, Ladder 122 in Brooklyn, and was among the responders on 9/11. "We lost six guys in our company," he said. The deaths from 9/11, have continued. Over 30 have died since that day due to injuries suffered in the disaster. Among them was his good friend Owen Carlock. a member of Ladder 122 who died last year at the age of 58 from complications.
    Page 2 of 2 - DeMarinis was unable to fight fires after 9/11 due to the dust particles he took in, and damaged his lungs. He was involved in the long and difficult cleanup of Ground Zero, and today serves as Captain of the Fire Police for Lakeville Fire Department.
    He urged everyone to give thanks to firefighters and police they happen to come across, and to say a prayer for them.
    McQueen, who lives in the Pittsburgh area, was visiting at his Lake Wallenpaupack home when he heard there was a ceremony being held in Hawley. Since 9/11, his nephew served two tours in Iraq and his son, a Navy Seal, has served once in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. Both have made it home safely.
    He said he feels for the United States; the fight for freedom continues. It is up to all of us, he said, to vote and to vote as our conscious tells us to do what's right.
    Essex, expressing hope that the observance of 9/11 will build as time goes on, pledged, "we will never forget."
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