Story by Lourice Angie
Members of the Warwick Fire Department were joined on Wed., Sept. 11 by local officials and dignitaries, members of the Warwick Police Department, volunteer emergency services, local veterans and civic organizations and people from throughout the community for a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in the Village of Warwick.
On the 18th anniversary of the event, residents gathered to remember those who lost their lives during the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in a field near Shanksville, PA on Sept. 11, 2001. Among those who died that day were seven residents from the Warwick community: FDNY members – Battalion Chief John P. Williamson, Lt. Michael N. Fodor, Lt. John F. Ginley, Lt. Stephen G. Harrell, and Firefighter Bruce Van Hine; and Linda Kristine Gronlund, an attorney who was a passenger on Flight 93 and Peter Mark Gyulavary, who worked on the 91st floor of the South Tower.
The community united in remembrance and solidarity of the lives lost and the lives affected long after the devastation of 9/11. All attendees received an American flag to wave, courtesy of Jerry A. Mainey, of the Jam Home Enhancement Mgmt Group, in Warwick. WFD Past Chief and Fire District Commissioner Jason Brasier opened the ceremony by thanking everyone for attending.
“We gather as a community, as so many in the nation will today, to remember the names, faces and lives of the men, women and children who were taken from us so early and to ensure that each and every one of them are never forgotten. As we gather to remember our fallen heroes and neighbors, I ask that you keep the members of our armed forces in your thoughts and prayers as they continually protect us,” said Brasier.
Ripple Effect of 9/11 Still Felt
WFD Chaplain Fr. Jack Arlotta led the ceremony in prayer. As the large crowd in Veterans Memorial Park bowed their heads, many young children could be seen paying close attention and pausing from waving their flags.
Assemblyman Karl Brabenec spoke to the crowd, saying, “September 11 changed the course of our nation’s history and even now we are still feeling its devastating ripples. Let today serve as a reminder of the American spirit. There’s not a power or evil that we will allow to defeat the greatest nation on earth.”
Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton addressed those gathered at the ceremony saying, “We will support our military men and women who’ve died in defense of this nation, who today serve to defend us across the seas and who defend us day in and day out. It’s our task to recommit to do that, so that those poor souls who lost their lives 18 years ago would not have died in vain.”
The Survivor Tree
A Callery pear tree that was recovered in October 2001 from the rubble at the World Trade Center was later named the “Survivor Tree.” When the eight-foot-tall tree was recovered it was badly burned but bared one single living branch.
From 2001 to 2010 the Survivor Tree was nursed back to health at a nursery in the Bronx, NY until it was returned to the World Trade Center site, then 30 feet tall. The Town of Warwick applied for and obtained approval to bring a Survivor Tree seedling to Warwick to be planted in Veterans Memorial Park.
The very special seedling, that embodies the spirit of hope, healing, strength and the resilience of our nation, was planted in Veterans Memorial Park in 2017.