Hundreds of residents gathered at Bingham Park in Hawley for the first-ever Lake Region 9/11 Memorial Dedication.
The crowd was greeted by an enormous United States flag, previously flown above Ground Zero, which was hoisted by two ladder trucks on loan from the Forest and Honesdale fire departments.
The Wallenpaupack Area High School Marching Band and the Middle School Bell Choir delighted the audience with patriotic music throughout the ceremony, which ended with the dedication of an impressive memorial.
The community raised nearly $10,000 to construct the monument, which includes an inscribed granite slab surrounded by two bluestone towers atop a pentagon-shaped base, and a sculpture made from marble and steel from the World Trade Center.
As she spoke, Senator Baker held a piece of glass from the Twin Towers given to her last year by former New York Port Authority Policeman Bob Essex. It reads simply, “Never Forget”.
Senator Baker’s remarks follow:
Ten years is a long time for many things in life. Yet it seems but an instant in recalling the shock and sorrow of the terrorist attacks upon America. We recall where we were when we heard the news, the emotional impact of the images of destruction and death, and the lift from reassuring signs such as the flag hoisted among the ruins.
In the wake of the tragic events of 9/11, Americans made many promises. The most important promise was to never forget the victims, to always remember their names, their qualities, and their purpose. By holding this memorial, by placing the monument, the people of Hawley redeem this promise.
On this anniversary, there are moving ceremonies being held at Shanksville, at the Pentagon, and at Ground Zero, where permanent memorials are taking shape. But in every community, it is a day to remember the victims, to reflect upon the lessons that emerged, and to recommit to the principles of freedom that represent our path toward a stronger, better nation.
When we have the presence of someone who survived, when we have the presence of those who lost spouses, children, parents, friends, neighbors, or co-workers, we are reminded of our solemn obligation to remember.
We can never fully measure or comprehend all that was lost that tragic day. What those nearly 3,000 individuals would have contributed, what they would have accomplished, what impact they would have had on the lives of others. That is why it is imperative for us to remember who they were, what they did, and what they meant to those around them.
Out of this tragedy came valuable lessons. The importance of saying “I love you” to those we care about. The healing grace of faith and the power of prayer, when we face times of grief and fear and uncertainty. The incredible courage of our trained first responders and the volunteers who selflessly react to emergency and disaster. The generosity and goodness of millions who contributed to recovery in so many ways. The exceptional devotion to duty of the men and women who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. The well from which heroism is drawn runs uncommonly deep among our citizens.
Last year, we were honored to have the National 9/11 Flag, which now includes Lincoln threads, in this region. This is an inspirational symbol, in the incredible effort involved in its making, and in the unity of spirit it represents.
We honor the victims of 9/11 by making ours a safer society. But even more, we honor them by making ours a better society. Where we seek to unite, rather than to divide. Where we value inclusion, rather than seeking to separate those who do not share our views, or language, or faith. Where we practice the principles of tolerance and justice as fervently as we profess to believe in them.
There are many respectful gestures on display today. There are many comforting words being offered. But the greatest comfort is found in our understanding that the souls of the 3,000 victims of 9/11are safe in the keeping of a merciful God.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson