MOORESVILLE — The message of thankfulness and never forgetting rang out at the 9/11 Memorial Walk and remembrance ceremony Friday at 9 a.m.
Several retired and active duty police officers who had been members of the New York Police Department at the time and were present at Ground Zero 19 years ago, led the solemn walk as they carried several carrying portions of the tower on loan from Veteran’s Museum, along with a wreath, which was placed at the main street park.
This park, said Mooresville Fire-Rescue Chief Curt Deaton is a “fire and police memorial park, and stands for the people who have served our communities, served other communities and for those that gave their life at 9-11.”
The walk, which was sponsored by the Mooresville-Lake Norman Exchange Club, began downtown near the Charles Mack Citizen Center and made its way to the park at Main Street and McLelland Avenue where a brief ceremony was held. Walkers were escorted by Mooresville Police Department and Iredell County Sheriff’s Office vehicles, and a Mooresville Rescue-Fire truck and Iredell County EMS vehicle brought the walk to a conclusion as they followed behind the participants.
Veteran Jim Kiger and additional volunteers carried multiple American flags along the walk route and once reaching the park, spread over the area with flags still waving throughout the ceremony.
As the walkers silently made their way down the street, music from bagpiper Jordan Dumford could be heard, and as he concluded with “Amazing Grace,” those who had been at Ground Zero and event speakers made their way to the podium as others social distanced and spread out over the park grounds.
Paul Summerville, president-elect of the local club, welcomed everyone to the ceremony and introduced Chaplain Terry Cherry who shared the opening invocation, thanking God for unity and coming together.
A special time of recognition followed as Summerville read the names of those present who had been at Ground Zero 19 years ago and encouraged each to “give a big welcoming hand” to them. These included Chris Jorgenson, Russ Crimi, Frank Yannucci, John McLaughlin, Vernon Siders, Dave Conlin, Ralph Forte, Steve Steo and Carl Ruggiero.
Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins shared words of welcome on behalf of the town and the board of commissioners and thanked the local club for “planning this morning’s commemorative walk.”
Atkins noted that “today on this 19th anniversary, we remember, we honor and we reflect. Let’s lift up all those who mourn and continue to deal with this tragedy and loss experienced on this day.”
He also expressed thanks for “all our first responders for their courage and bravery, to many men and women who enlisted in the military after 9/11 to defend our freedoms, and to all who stand here today who were directly impacted by this tragedy. May God’s peace be with you.”
He concluded with the words, “We will never forget!
Both Police Chief Ron Campurciani and Curt Deaton reflected on where they were 19 years ago today as Campurciani noted that “everybody always talks about where they were, remembering what they did on that day.”
He continued by sharing his memory of being at work and watching the attack on television and how “when the first plane hit, we kinda went ‘that could be an accident, but that’s kind of weird.’ And when the second one hit, we knew that America was under attack. When the third plane hit the Pentagon, we knew that was a declaration of war. So many things changed that day,” he said, “and I understood the magnitude of it how it reverberated the world.”
Campurciani said that “as we move on with this, these events become very important. They become more than just symbolic. These events have become so important because for every high school senior that is graduating from this year forward was not alive when 9/11 happened. So we are the only people who can carry on and let them know exactly what happened. These events are more important than you think.”
Remembering where he was on Sept. 11, 2001, Deaton said he was “at work here at the fire department and watched the unheard of happen. This point changed the fire service forever.”
Deaton urged the community to remember as he said, “I want the community to never forget the sacrifices all responders gave that day and continue to give to every community. I am proud to work with those that were at this event 19 years ago. They served a career in New York and are now serving here in Mooresville. These people are dedicated servants to our community. I am proud of the service our fire department does here and continue to ensure they are trained and equipped to be the first defense.”
He stressed that hopes “that we never have to face this type of tragedy here but ensure we are as prepared as we can be to keep our community safe.”
An emotional day for those who were there in New York, several shared some thoughts on being a part of the special memorial walk and ceremony.
Crimi said that “this is a day for remembering this horrific tragedy that happened to this country, and the town of Mooresville is doing a wonderful job to remember all who died for us.”
Jorgensen echoed the sentiment of the importance of remembering as he shared, “it’s a day of reflection, not to forget. I appreciate the Exchange Club, (for having the event), we need not to forget.”
“It’s a tough day, it’s a sad day,” said Yanucci, “but people still have to remember history.”
Sider reflected on now and his time in New York as he said that “there’s a special silver lining in that people are coming together. When I was in New York, I always remember all the people from all walks of life coming together, not complaining, not arguing, all helping each other.”
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