Webster remembers

12 Sep

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The Village of Webster gathered Monday night to pay honor to the men and women who lost their lives during the horrific events of September 11, 2001. About 100 residents convened in Veterans Memorial Park for the 50-minute ceremony, joined by more than 30 Webster fire fighters and first responders, Village Mayor Darrell Byerts, a handful of other state, town and village representatives, and the Chorus of the Genesee.

Mayor Byerts acted as emcee, sharing the podium with many of those representatives who added their thoughts and personal recollections from the day.  Many of those comments were directed at the ranks of first responders who stood proudly near the edge of the park. And those were the comments I considered most meaningful.

We must never forget what happened that day and the brave people who lost their lives. But it’s also important to appreciate those who still keep up safe every day.

Mayor Byerts was the first to sound that call. He asked us to remember what it was like in the hours and days after 9/11. We were a country united, helping strangers in the street, showing our patriotism by flying flags from every pole we could find. We mourned the loss of 2,977 innocent lives. Among them were 412 emergency workers, including 343 FDNY firefighters.  We publicly thanked them for their efforts.

The same thing happened when Webster suffered the loss of two of our own firefighters at the hand of a madman on December 24, 2012. We came together again as one, and showed how much we love and respect our local firefighters.

But, as Byerts noted, that public outpouring of emotion didn’t last.

“As time passes, memories fade and those appointed to protect us are forgotten,” he said. “The words ‘thank you’ are rarely spoken.”

Syed Ahmed Mustafa, president of Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support, further reminded us that “People don’t become heroes because of what they do one day, but because of what they do every day.”

Those are powerful thoughts. What I took from them was this:

We must never forget September 11 and keep those who lost their lives close to our hearts. But one of the best way to honor them is to appreciate those who continue to race to the scene of a horrific accident or run into burning buildings, not knowing what exactly they’re going to find.

Or, by the way, WHO they’re going to find. Because, as Ahmed said, what 9/11 taught us is that “no matter where we work, pray or play, we are all American.”

Here are several more photos from the evening:

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