Counting down to the blessings of autumn

Ellen Emery

This Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

That date of Sept. 11, 2001, fills my heart with sadness and remembrances. Each year, a massive U.S. flag waves majestically with the signboard in front of the Hogansburg Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Station No. 1 declaring, “We Made a Promise — Never Forget.” The HAVF Department’s touching tribute always makes me stop and remember. How grateful I am for the remembrance of this day at station No. 1.

In an unthinkable terrorist attack, hijacked airplanes struck the World Trade Center in New York City. When United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers, 2,753 people were killed. Most of those who perished were civilians with the exception of 343 firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers who died in the World Trade Center and on the ground.

Another law enforcement officer died when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pa.; 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died when they gave their lives attempting to take control of the flight rather than having it reach its unknown destination.

At the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., 184 people were killed. There were also 55 military personnel who died at the Pentagon in Arlington County, Va.

As my thoughts turn to remembrance of that day 20 years ago, I remember William J. (Billy) Sears. Billy, like many other skilled ironworkers, traveled to New York City in the 1960s to help in the construction of the World Trade Center. I believe Julius Cook also was another ironworker who had worked on the construction of the Twin Towers.

One of my favorite pictures is a black-and-white photo that stood on the desk of Billy Sears in his office. The picture depicts a teenaged ironworker sitting on top of a beam. The teen is Billy Sears.

I believe he once told me that he was 18 at the time. He is sitting above the skyline of New York City enjoying his lunch — hard hat and all. Local ironworkers helped to build the towers. So when they were taken down, it touched them personally.

I remember interviewing Billy after the terrorist attack — he told me then he had to go back to the city “to see the girls,” referring to the Twin Towers. Billy, again, like so many local ironworkers, returned to New York City to assist once more at Ground Zero.

Take a moment this week and remember each one who was killed that day and remember, too, those who gave their lives in serving as a firefighter or police officer. And remember our neighbors and friends who travelled to New York City to build the Twin Towers and who returned to aid in the cleanup following the terrorist attacks.

I would ask that you would “Never Forget.” Pay tribute and remember.


Courier Observer reporter Bob Beckstead celebrates his birthday today. What a fine gentleman and terrific reporter! My heartfelt thanks, Bob, for your dedication to your community as you share the stories of each one and the news of the day, which is so important to all of us in the north country.

Have a wonderful birthday, Bob, with limited board meetings and no major news events to cover today. Enjoy! You certainly deserve only the best as you celebrate this year.


What a remarkable sight last week as we traveled to Massena by way of the Bombay-Helena Road. Thankfully, The Gardener — who was driving that day — noticed a large bird near where we would be driving.

He slowed and a huge dark blue bird rose in front of us. His wing span was truly amazing — the bird in flight was majestic.

A blue heron had flown directly past our car windshield. Thankfully, we were both able to safely continue our journey.

Isn’t it wonderful to live in the north country when a simple trip to pick up your groceries becomes a marvelous bird watching experience? I certainly think so. The beauty in the north country never ceases to amaze me.


The television was turned to an afternoon talk show. I was at the computer but soon realized the host was working with crafts.

I paused and took a moment to watch the crafting idea. The host was transforming an eye glass case into a purse! She described the type of handle to purchase and demonstrated how to drill the right spots for the handle.

I was not as concerned with her crafting or ability to complete her task as I watched. What concerned me was the size of the purse she would have for use.

My purse contains extra masks, keys, a wallet for purchases, pens and a notebook — a small one, but a notebook. It also carries lovely zip lock bag for coffee sleeves (I learned years ago from Marcia Curran at Seasons that a coffee drinker must always have extra sleeves in readiness). A book is always included for use if I have to wait for an appointment or for a ship passing through the locks.

Those items are probably only a few of what is contained in my purse today. As I have thought about it, I soon realized not one item (perhaps my keys) or the non-key fob for our new car might fit in an eye glass case purse!

I took no notes for attempting this crafting exercise. I think I will pass on an eye glass case purse and continue to use the multi-pocketed beautiful purse my brother-in-law gave me for use containing every item I need for the day!


“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”

— Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl

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