Today we gather to pay respect to those we lost locally and all of the men and women we lost on September 11. Our hearts are filled with sadness. When something as intensely horrific such as this happens, we distinctly remember where we were, who we were with, what we were doing. It was a moment that the world stopped. This was an incident that changed history and its effect on families and loved ones remains the deep scar we feel in our communities. Although time heals it is the reminder and ache of loss that we acknowledge and the lives of fellow Warwick residents we commemorate.
Today we honor:
John F. Ginley, Stephen G. Harrell, Peter Gyulavary, John P. Williamson, Bruce van Hine, Michael Fodor, and Linda Gronlund.
As part of today’s ceremony is the dedication of the 911 Tree. A pear tree in an area adjacent to the Twin Tower withstood the force of the destruction. In the acres of twisted steel and iron, cement and glass a singular tree, though badly damaged, survived. The tree was nurtured back to health and is part of the 9/11 Memorial on the former site of the towers. Cuttings of the original tree were planted and have grown to be young trees – a new generation. Deb Schweikart heard about this program and was able to obtain a tree for us and we are grateful for her hard work to make this possible.
During the sesquicentennial year of the Village we have been doing a lot of reminiscing of the past and recognizing the connective links to the present and the future. The 9/11 Tree is just that – it is a physical piece of a survivor laying down new roots and spreading new branches. It is a promise and it is a reminder. It is a testament to the Patriot Spirit to move forward towards a stronger, safer and more resilient America. The tree is more than a symbol, it is an historical marker, it is a bridge to the future that give us hope.
We will care for this tree, protect it, nurture it so it will be appreciated and loved for generations to come and they too will have a sense of history and understand what happened on that fateful day in 2001.
The next Village Board meeting is Mon., Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Village Hall, located at 77 Main St. in Warwick.
The above column, written by Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, will be published in the Sept. 13 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.