County officials reflect on 2001 attacks
MAYVILLE — Seventeen years have come and gone since the date Sept. 11, 2001, became one of the most infamous moments in history. Dozens gathered outside the Chautauqua County Courthouse on Tuesday to ensure the more than 3,000 lives lost on that fateful day and additional lives lost over the course of the many days that followed were remembered and never forgotten.
The 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony was held by the local American Legion and the Chautauqua County Veterans Council to honor the lives lost in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, and the subsequent lives lost in armed conflicts.“For someone my age, I remember exactly where I was that day, and I was actually watching TV live as the second plane hit the south tower,” said County Executive George Borrello. “It’s a very somber day of remembrance.”
Borrello emphasized the importance of holding remembrance ceremonies for 9/11. He expressed concern that the youth of the country might be too young to remember Sept. 11, its impact and the events that followed. For him, 9/11 ceremonies are not only important, but are necessary to educate the youth.
“The threat is not over and the War on Terror persists and we need to remain diligent and strong,” he said.
In addition to Borrello’s address, state Sen. Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell also gave a speech at the remembrance ceremony. A representative from Congressman Tom Reed’s office was also present. Additionally, Scott Dearing, Chautauqua County American Legion commander; Stan Kawski, Chautauqua County chaplain; Pat Hayward, Chautauqua County Auxiliary president; and Henry Link, who served as the event’s master of ceremony, also spoke.
“It’s important to remember the heroism that occurred on 9/11 when we had all the first responders rush into the building in the face of obvious danger in an effort to save the people’s lives,” Goodell said.
Goodell said every American can pay their respects to the lives lost by making their own communities better.
“We should all strive to be everyday heroes,” he said.
The ceremony featured a performance of “Taps” and a 21-gun salute.
For Young, she believed the intention and mission of the terrorists on 9/11 back fired. In her eyes, the country was more united than it was before following the tragic events 17 years ago.
“The opposite happened,” Young said. “All that is good and right about America showed through — not only across the country, but right in our state and our county.”
Young also mentioned that Amy King, a Celoron native and Southwestern Central School graduate, lost her life on 9/11 as she was a passenger on one of the hijacked planes that struck the World Trade Center. The state senator also praised the efforts of first responders who were on the scene of the plane crashes and those who rushed to impacted areas in the following days and weeks.
“Since that time so many of our brave young people have volunteered to serve,” she said.
Young noted that Chautauqua County is home to numerous Gold Star families who have lost a family member serving in combat — a sacrifice that she said makes remembrance ceremonies personal to local residents.
“It’s important that we continue to reflect and remember,” she said. “My hat is off to our local veterans for making sure that we have this ceremony.”