If I close my eyes I can visualize and remember that bright September morning 19 years ago. My son was 15 months old; I was serving my first term as Mayor and the world seemed safe and good. Within minutes of my arrival at Village Hall and the first reports of planes being used as weapons of destruction – the Pentagon being hit, the Twin Towers falling, that sense of safety quickly unraveled. We all watched with horror, trying to make sense of the loss of life, the unknown, and the consequences that lie ahead. Soon it became clear that the destruction would touch us at home with the loss of our own residents, our own loved ones.
Today, we are here to honor and remember Firemen, First Responders: Battalion Chief John Williamson, Lieutenant Michael Fodor, Lieutenant John Ginley, Firefighter Bruce Van Hine, Lt. Stephen G. Harrell, and Civilians: Linda Gronlund who was aboard United Flight 93 and Engineer and Architect Peter Mark Gyulavary who worked in the South Tower.
Our hearts go out to their families. Though time may help the process of grief and loss, the tragedy seems unyielding and as difficult to fathom today. We stand by you and offer our love as a community and as a nation.
The resulting dangerous environmental factors of destruction on this scale and the superhuman effort to help save lives will continue to have ripple effects on the health of on-site First Responders in years to come. We must make it our goal that these men and women receive the care that is necessary at whatever cost. To not do this would be a tragedy and for this, we must remember them and be advocates for this cause.
The long shadow of that day will touch generations to come. Let us not forget the brave soldiers in deserts and distant shores who protect us and continue to keep us from harm’s way. We are grateful for your allegiance and service. You are patriots and heroes.
Our vow is to remember, to not forget, to hold you close to our heart, to work together for a better future, and a stronger America.
The next Village Board meeting will take place on Monday, September 21, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall, 77 Main Street, and will be held through Zoom videoconference and may be viewed live by the public on the Village’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VillageofWarwick.