On an aptly gloomy Patriot Day at Market Square in Old Town, public safety officials, government officials, residents and passers by held a ceremony in between two immense American flags on the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
A gathering of about 200 attended the memorial where sullen faces, moments of silence and prayer coalesced with sturdy words from Mayor Bill Euille, Chief of Police Earl Cook, Sheriff Lawhorne and Fire Chief Adam Thiel in remembrance of the attack, its victims, its heroes and how it changed the city and country forever.
"We have come together today to reflect and remember a solemn event that forever changed our community and our nation," Lawhorne said. "In some ways, the 9/11 terrorist attacks brought us out of innocence. It opened our eyes to the thoughts that once, in a great while, evil has its day and the ideals of freedom and democracy, which we hold dear, have no meaning to others. While September 11th took away our innocence, that day gave us much more. It opened our eyes to the honor integrity, spirit and solidarity of our nation and our people."
Thiel and Cook, who both responded to the scene at the Pentagon eight years ago today, joined Lawhorne in saluting a memorial wreath following the ringing of a bell five times each by a representative of the city government, police department, fire department and emergency medical services. The ritual recognized the sacrifice of those who died responding to the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Retired FDNY Battalion Chief Gene Mceowan, who responded to the World Trade Center eight years ago, was on hand as a special guest. It was his first September 11th spent outside of New York.