Massena firefighters will honor first responders

Members of the Massena Volunteer Fire Department held a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony in 2016, and they’ll be holding another ceremony Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park in Massena. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The Massena Volunteer Fire Department will be honoring all first responders Saturday as part of a 20th anniversary remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Ceremony chairman Dante Romeo said they’ll be meeting at 10 a.m. at Emmanuel Congregational United Church of Christ, 39 West Orvis St., where the Rev. Judith VanKennen, the department’s chaplain, will offer a small church service.

“At 10:30 we are going to be marching down to Veterans Park,” he said.

Members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony at the park, which is located next to the Massena Fire Station.

‘We have a few speeches, we’ll be doing the ringing of the bell, and raising and lowering the flag,” Mr. Romeo said.

The ringing of the bell and the Fire Fighter’s Prayer are two traditions of the fire service which reflect respect and honor to those who gave their lives to their duty. The ringing of the bell represents the end of the emergency and the return to quarters, and is usually three rings of the bell, three times.

Of the 2,977 victims killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, 412 were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center. They included 343 firefighters, including a chaplain and two paramedics, of the New York City Fire Department.

Second Assistant Chief Thomas Miller said it’s not just the firefighters they’ll be honoring during the ceremony. They’ll also acknowledge the sacrifices of others who died that day, including 37 police officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, 23 police officers of the New York City Police Department, eight emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private emergency medical services, three New York state court officers and one patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol.

The department held a ceremony in 2016, and they plan to continue.

“We are planning on doing it every five years from here on out,” Mr. Miller said.

“We’re doing our part to promise that we’d never forget,” Mr. Romeo said.

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