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Liberty recognizes milestone anniversary

Matt Shortall
Posted 9/14/21

On a solemn 20th anniversary, the Town of Liberty’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony took place at Lapolt Park on Saturday morning.

The pledge of allegiance was led by longtime event organizer …

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Liberty recognizes milestone anniversary

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On a solemn 20th anniversary, the Town of Liberty’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony took place at Lapolt Park on Saturday morning.

The pledge of allegiance was led by longtime event organizer Henrietta Phelps followed by a prayer delivered by Pastor Ed Sostak.

“It’s an honor to be with you today surrounded by our firemen and ladies, our police officers, first responders and medical people of every kind,” Pastor Sostak said. “All of [them] are still willing to do what those we celebrate today did - run into burning buildings on our behalf for those they have sworn to serve and protect. We are indeed thankful for each and every one of you.”

Town of Liberty Supervisor Frank DeMayo expressed a feeling on Saturday that many people undoubtedly shared - that 20 years have come and gone very quickly.

“Those who are old enough remember where they were on that day, how they heard the news and all that transpired shortly thereafter,” DeMayo said. “Something I remember after the events of the day sunk in was the togetherness, unity, love, caring and compassion for each other as we grieved the results of the violence.”

DeMayo recognized the pandemic as another historic and tragic ongoing event

“While we recognize the humanitarian work of essential workers, organizations, groups and individuals, where is the unity? Where is the togetherness as a nation? Where is the country-wide caring and love for each other?”

DeMayo said that he felt America was more divided now than it has ever been in his lifetime and called for the same kind of sentiment that prevailed in the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks.  

“As we remember the events and suffering from 9/11, let's also remember the love and support for each other in the days that followed. Let us here, right here in Liberty, set the example of compassion and caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of religious, political or other beliefs or ethnic background.”

Ralph Bressler is a 35-year member of the Volunteer Ambulance Corps of Livingston Manor. He spoke next about his experiences as one of the hundreds of a volunteer ambulance crews that responded to Ground Zero in the weeks after the disaster to assist with recovery efforts.

“We use the phrase ‘never forget,’ but our society is very good at forgetting,” Bressler said “Certainly no one who was at the pile for even a short period of time will ever forget what they witnessed. Those who lost loved ones, friends and coworkers can never forget. However as time goes by, more and more people will forget unless we choose to pass on our memories to the next generation.”

The ceremony’s keynote address was delivered by Liberty Central School District Superintendent Patrick Sullivan. He recalled he was attending Saint Lawrence University at the time and watching with his college roommate in disbelief as events unfolded on live television.

“I guess September 11 didn’t really hit me until I went home a couple weeks later. I grew up 30 minutes from New York City and I witnessed the effects of this tragedy as many families from my hometown lost loved ones who worked in the world trade center, were firefighters of the FDNY, officers with the NYPD, EMS workers and others.” Sullivan Said.

A moment of silence was held at 9:59 - the same moment 20 years ago that the second tower had collapsed. An echo performance of Taps was performed by Gary Siegel and Charles Sommer.

  

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