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Twenty years later, Hanover still remembers 9-11

Twenty years later, Hanover still remembers 9-11

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Hanover County never forgets.

County administration, elected officials, staff and public safety workers gathered last week to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice on Sept. 11, 2001. It was a poignant ceremony reflecting on those who sacrificed that eventful day that was held in front of the old courthouse in Hanover.

“It was an event that reminds us never to forget,” County Administrator John Budesky told the assembled group. “It is important not only every day but every year to never forget the events of Sept. 11.”

Board of Supervisors chair Sean Davis said the attacks exposed a faction of terrorists that truly hated America and what the country represents.

“They were terrorists who were bent on destroying America and its way of life,” Davis said. “What they didn’t realize is America’s exceptionalism and the love Americans have for their country.”

He noted the first to enter the building after the incidents involved with Sept. 11 were local first responders who did not hesitate to answer the call.

“Those who responded first were the local heroes. Many of those who ran in that direction knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that one of those runs would be the last run of their lives,” Davis said.

Fire Chief Jethro Piland said this generation will remember Sept. 11 in a similar fashion to the way our parents remember Pearl Harbor Day in 1941.

He said that Tuesday began normally. “In an instant everything changed when we received word that a plane had accidentally crashed into one of the Towers,” Piland said. “As firefighters and EMS personnel, we knew that FDNY and NYPD were going to work.”

Piland said he and his colleagues watched in horror as a second plane struck and the towers eventually collapsed.

“During those tragic times, I witnessed the perseverance and dedication of responders nationwide,” Piland said.

Piland’s department immediately offered assistance to its brethren in Northern Virginia who were fighting the Pentagon blaze.

He noted the bravery of the men who climbed those towers to save others. “I believe that the firefighters climbing the stairs at the Twin Towers knew that they were never going home.”

Sheriff’s Deputy C.T. Woody said he visited the site in New York City about a month after the incident and was moved by the solemn dedication of the workers at the site as they searched for missing remains.

All work stopped each time a victim was discovered. “Every one would stop what they were doing and every victim was shown respect,” he said.

Woody said the efforts of those first responders are credited with saving more than 25,000 lives on that eventful day.

Ashland Police Department Chief Doug Goodman, a Hanover Sheriffs Deputy at the time of the incident, said these memorial celebrations are vital to perpetuating the memories of the fallen heroes. “What I would like to stress is that we need to continue these remembrances because we have a whole generation who were not born when 9-11 happened,” Goodman said. “They need to know that in addition to the lives lost, America lost so much more.”

Goodman said more than 20,000 people have been diagnosed with cancer as a result of the incidents on Sept. 11. “These are first responders and construction workers,” Goodman said.

Among the first responders at the site on or after the attacks, more than 4,600 have subsequently died from cancer as a result of their dedicated and selfless actions on that monumental day.

The name of every victim was read aloud during the ceremony, followed by a final salute to the fallen.

A ceremonial bell was rung three times, signaling the end of their service, and public safety officials placed a wreath at the base of the courthouse.


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