By Elise Fisch
The Greenwood Lake Fire Department invited friends and neighbors to solemnly convene for a public ceremony in remembrance of the attacks that took place 19 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001. The event took place at the Fire Department building, located at 17 Mountain Lakes Ln. in Greenwood Lake. A small crowd gathered, wearing masks and socially distancing themselves appropriately from one another, and together they stood to respectfully commemorate those who lost their lives on that fateful day.
An enormous, vertically oriented, American flag acted as both the backdrop and the centerpiece of the ceremony, suspended high in the air by the long ladder of a fire truck that faced the crowd. Greenwood Lake Fire Department service members, in their formal dress uniforms, stood at attention shoulder-to-shoulder in a single file line, parallel to the flag. The crowd followed their lead as they placed their right hands over their hearts to begin the event with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Fire Chief Mike Dunlop was the first to take the podium, and he stood before the crowd in his black, formal dress uniform, with hat and gloves and protective face mask to dutifully deliver the Fireman’s Prayer. He then welcomed everyone to what has been an annual function, and expressed his gratitude to all who chose to be there to commemorate the day.
He delivered a brief, but pointed speech about the unifying power of patriotism, and how an act of extreme terror that was meant to “tear us apart only brought us together as a country.” He finished by emphasizing how the memory of this day gave “us as Americans a more significant understanding of the phrase, ‘united we stand.’”
Chief Dunlop then introduced to the podium the Mayor of Greenwood Lake, Jesse Dwyer. Mayor Dwyer has spoken at this annual commemoration every year that he’s been in office, and he conveyed gratitude for being invited back each time.
As he spoke, he made emphasis of the words, “always remember,” which are consistently associated with 9/11, and implored those gathered before him to attribute those words to always remembering that the first responders are the ones who made the choice to put their lives in peril for the safety of everyone.
Following Mayor Dwyer came Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, who spoke concisely about the importance of remembrance, and how everyone on this day should keep in mind the ultimate sacrifice that was made by those who acted for the good of the country both on that fateful day and in the treacherous days that followed.
After the speakers were finished for the evening, the crowd’s attention was brought to the Ringing of the Bell, a tradition carried out at firefighters’ funerals. The ceremonial bell was struck several times to symbolize the call to action of the service of the Fire Department, and indicate the closing of the memorial ceremony for the evening.
As “God Bless America” played on the sound system, members of the audience quietly sang along, gently swaying and staring up at the flag that hung against the darkening sky above. Chief Dunlop once again took to the mic to thank everyone for their attendance again this year, and promised to continue the tradition of remembrance again next year, on what will be the 20th anniversary.
As the song came to its momentous finish, the line of uniformed officers was at last dismissed by their commanding officer, and dispersed with the crowd.
Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton delivers his speech at the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in Greenwood Lake.
The Greenwood Lake Fire Department held a service in honor of those lost on Sept. 11.
A huge American flag was the focal point of a ceremony in Greenwood Lake honoring those who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks.