Aston Township Commemorates September 11, 2001 with Solemn Ceremony
By Loretta Rodgers
The Aston Township community gathered Sept. 11 at the Memorial Gardens at Five Points to honor and remember those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Hosted by Township Boy Scout Troops 225 and 292, Girl Scout Troop 57075 and members of American Legion Post #926, the program included speeches, dedication of a wreath, readings, and memorials.
Master and mistress of ceremonies, scouts Rachael McCullough and Matthew Gane eloquently presented speakers which included Aston Commissioners Mike Higgins and Carol Graham; Bill Dondero representing U.S. Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-7); Kevin Andrews, who represented Pa. State Rep. Joe Hackett (R-161); and American Legion 2014 National Eagle Scout of the Year Joseph Blaisse.
“I was only fours years old in 2001 and I don’t remember every detail, but I like to think I can recall the important ones,” Blaisse said. From what I’ve been taught about that terrible day, and from what I’ve learned from my experiences as a scout and also as a Son of the American Legion, I believe there may be only one way to be prepared, and that is by offering ourselves in service to one another. Those firemen, police and port authority officers who responded that day were prepared to serve as were the military personnel at the Pentagon and those crew members and passengers on (United Airways) Flight 93 who sacrificed their lives as they took the plane from their captors.”
Commissioner Higgins spoke of the September 11 terrorist attacks and warned of the danger the world is facing today from ISIS or the Islamic State.
“As Americans, we will need to count on the leadership of our armed forces, working with our partners to destroy this threat,” Higgins said. “Here at home, we need to be alert and vigilant and report any activity we think may be suspicious…If we think a terrorist attack can’t happen here in Aston Township, we are dreaming. However small, it could happen.”
St. Francis de Sales Pastor, The Rev. Alan Okon offered the benediction, local singer Gianni Palmarini performed both the National Anthem and God Bless America, and a red, white and blue wreath was laid at the veterans and emergency responders memorial. The Sun Valley High School JRROTC cadets served as color guard, executing a 21 gun salute, and the Aston-Beechwood, Green Ridge and Lima Fire Departments proudly displayed a flag bridge, which stretched across Concord Road.
Commissioner Graham read a poem written by a first responder who was on the scene that fateful day in 2001 and expressed appreciation to all who selflessly put her lives on the line every day for the protection of others.
“I am honored to stand at the site of this memorial and reflect on the devastating events that occurred 13 years ago and I am so proud of our first responders in Aston,” Graham said… “Most of us will remember the day the world seemed to stop turning. We were absorbed in the images of first responders racing to the scene, looked and listened to stories of ordinary citizens who were placed in impossible situations. It is their bravery and spirit that we celebrate here tonight.”