9/11: Day of Remembrance
A short but moving ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of the fatal attack at the New York twin towers on September 11th, 2001 was held at Engine 4’s Quarters, located at 71 South Broadway on September 11, 2017. Norman Jones, director of operations support, US Foods, a good friend of the Lawrence Fire Department was introduced by Lt. James Flynn acting as MC.
Jones, reading from written statement, said: Thank you — honored to be asked to share a few thoughts. With that mural as our backdrop with the words, “Never Forget” – Thought I would talk about the days after 9/11 about memories, mood and sorrow that our city, this neighborhood and Lawrence Fire Department experienced.
When I look back I think of three things; Civility, Patriotism and Pride
• City seemed to be in slow motion, Broadway seemed quieter, traffic seemed slower and when you were at a stop light and the light changed green: Nobody honked their horn to get going.
• Remember a packed Saint Patrick on Wednesday night — music was moving, people sharing a tissue and plenty of hugs at the sign of peace.
• The following Sunday walking into church, I remember Engine 9 responding to a call coming over the bridge on Salem St and turning left onto Broadway, how the public paused as the engine came through the intersection and offered a supportive look, a thumbs up or a wave.
• Wouldn’t it be nice if civility was a way of life and demonstrated every day?
• Flags sold out everywhere. I remember going to Farley and Cross and buying his entire stock of flags for my employees. At that moment, that gift was an emotional experience for my team.
• Firehouses landing zone for support, meals, flowers, and simple thanks. Apparatus doors were open for the public to mourn, support and express appreciation for all first responders.
• Think about the Patriots game when the season resumed. Know many on this department are passionate season ticket holders. Image of Andruzzi brothers running out with the American flags and the place going crazy.
• Wouldn’t it be nice when two games are played tonight on Monday night football on this important day in our history —that every athlete stands and shows respect for the flag and every soul who perished 16 years ago?
• I feel a 9-11 ceremony belongs at a firehouse. Today this house and all firehouses across our nation are “Cathedrals of Pride” – we need firefighters to be passionate about remembering this day on our history. Without all of you, this day would turn into a distant memory. You have an obligation to make sure this ceremony continues to cause folks to reflect, volunteer, and Never Forget.
• Several members of this department assembled on this very apron — packed and heading to Ground Zero. Today I think about Mike Guiarausso, one of the most decorated, respected and loved member of this department who went to ground Zero but the Good Lord took Mike too early in his life. We believe that Mike’s days at Ground Zero played a role in the decline of his health.
• I have known Lt Flynn since I met him in 1997 when he did a routine inspection of my warehouse on Andover St. Every year, the Lt organizes this ceremony. Why? because his pride runs deep, his love for being a Lawrence Firefighter is contagious, he lead the effort for that mural and he will never let us to “forget”
• Who among us in this department is the next Lt Flynn? I hope the list of volunteers is long because this Community, this country, and all of us need someone to make sure we “Never Forget”.