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9/11

City Councilman gives nod to first responders in opening prayer

By Joanne Beck
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Bob Bialkowsi
File photo of City Councilman-at-large Bob Bialkowski, center, in Council Chambers at City Hall.
Photo by Joanne Beck

For the second time on Monday, Bob Bialkowski took the opportunity to not only acknowledge the sacrifices of others given on Sept. 11 22 years ago, but to also pray that those first responders “inspire us to live bravely and courageously and to selflessly protect others in need.”

The City Councilman-at-large gave the opening prayer for the group’s monthly conference session Monday at City Hall. It was the only acknowledgment of 9/11 during the brief meeting, though it was followed by the pledge of allegiance, a longstanding city tradition. 

A veteran having served in the U.S. Army Aviation Reserves for 30 years, Bialkowski also spoke during a remembrance ceremony at the VA Medical Center in Batavia earlier Monday. 

He and other speakers emphasized the need for such memorials as key to preserving the history of 9/11 and the bravery displayed by countless first responders, fire and police personnel, military members, and ordinary citizens who rallied on an airplane to help divert further disaster. 

As a prelude to the council meeting, Bialkowski’s words seemed contradictory to a time when many questioned the presence of outsiders on American soil.

“May we look to those who opened up their homes to the stranded and displaced that day to stir us to be more hospitable,” he said. “Having seen the face of evil and darkness, may we be steadfast and faithful, pursuing you as our perpetual light.”

Remembrance ceremony captures importance of 9/11 at Batavia VA

By Joanne Beck
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Flags in a shape of the Twin Towers NYC in rememberance of 9/11/01  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Flags representing the shape of the Twin Towers in NYC adorn the front lawn of the Batavia VA Medical Center, which served as the site for a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony Monday.
 Photo by Steve Ognibene

While many people went about their usual routines Monday, there were events happening across the country, including in Genesee County, to acknowledge and memorialize the date of Sept. 11 that has become so sacred to Americans.

And veteran John McCune attended one such ceremony, believing it is something to appreciate.

“There's nothing more important and special than the ceremonies that should take place across the country for each and every school child coming up so that they can remember and absolutely understand the impact that it had on our nation,” McCune said while at the Batavia VA Medical Center flagpole during a 9/11 ceremony. “How we were all, as Americans, were drawn together based on the fact that it was a need, and they followed up with that need for those heroes that lost their lives in those buildings, attempting to save those from the building fires and eventually lost their lives by the buildings toppling down on them.”

McCune was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, having served eight years. He believes that participating in such events is a “must-do” every year, “especially for our younger generation that’s up and coming so that they too will know and have the knowledge of the events that took more than 3,000 lives in New York City.”

The driveway into the VA was lined with people for the ceremony, and the front lawn was adorned with U.S. flags to represent the shape of the Twin Towers. 

Lest anyone forget, from 911memorial.org: on Sept. 11, 2001, 19 terrorists associated with al-Qaeda, an Islamist extremist group, hijacked four commercial airplanes scheduled to fly from the East Coast to California.

In a coordinated attack that turned the planes into weapons, the terrorists intentionally flew two of the planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, a global business complex in New York City, causing the towers to collapse. They also flew a third plane into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, in Arlington, Va.

Passengers and crew members on the fourth plane launched a counterattack, forcing the hijacker pilot—who was flying the airplane toward Washington, D.C.—to crash the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, near the town of Shanksville.

The 9/11 attacks killed 2,977 people. This was the single largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil. The attacks caused the deaths of 441 first responders, the greatest loss of emergency responders on a single day in American history.

McCune commended state Senator George Borrello, who represents the 57th senate district, for also being at the ceremony, and for being “genuine” with his heartfelt remarks. 

The Batavia VA federal facility was first on his to-do list for the day, Borrello said. 

“It ties everything together — the sacrifices that had been made, literally for centuries by our military, with the attack on our nation, and the sacrifices that were made that day by people who just were going to work and not realizing that they were going to be part of what would be the war on terror,” he said. 

So for him, it just seemed like the ideal opportunity to remind everyone of that sacrifice, he said, while at the VA, where veterans who served their country reside and receive services and treatment. 

Those veterans, and Sept. 11, truly changed this nation, Borrello said.

“My fear is that our children are understanding that and understanding that the threat is still there, but the diligence is still required. And I have a lot of concerns about how the narrative has been twisted against our law enforcement,  first responders and military, that they are no longer the heroes, the ones that are on the watch, guarding us, but they have somehow been, it has been twisted to them being the enemy,” he said. “And that’s what I spoke about today, because I look at someone who might be 25 - 30 years old who may have no memory of 9/11, but is now being told that somehow the police are racist, and this and that, and all these other negative things that are said about law enforcement, when the fact is, that it didn’t matter: race, creed, color, we were united, that the politics stopped at the water’s edge, that we all bleed the same color. 

And that is what makes America great, is that diversity and the unity in that diversity.”

As a representative of the City of Batavia, Councilman-at-Large Bob Bialkowski praised the VA Medical Center, staffed by a “superb group of dedicated professionals and caring volunteers.” 

The U.S. Army Aviation Reserves veteran turned to that fateful day, when a “vile act of terror was a stain on the heart to all of us.”

“Our country is hated by half of the world because we are free people. Freedom is the enemy of evil. And the evil people of the world will always be plotting against us to enslave us to their will. We are Americans, and history shows that we're the greatest protectors of freedom in the world,” Bialkowski said. “Today, let us remember all those brave and heroic Americans who lost their lives on 9/11, 2001. Service members, police, firefighters, medical and ordinary citizens. All Americans, first and foremost.

“In closing, the entrance to the main entrance going up the stairs, there's a garden, and there's figurines representing each member of each armed force. They’re all standing there saluting. They're looking down at the grass, and I'll picture 3,000 people on the lawn, where each flag is, picture a person standing there,” he said. “So on the way out, please remember this. We will never forget, and must always remain vigilant and fight evil. We are all Americans.”

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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NYS Senator George Borrello  Photo by Steve Ognibene
NYS Senator George Borrello
Photo by Steve Ognibene
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Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
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NYS Senator Goerge Borrello address the veterans at the V.A. hospital, Batavia  Photo by Steve Ognibene
State Senator George Borrello addresses spectators and veterans during the 9/11 ceremony Monday at the VA Medical Center in Batavia.
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
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City Councilman at large, Bob Bialkowski  Photo by Steve Ognibene
City Councilman-at-large Bob Bialkowski reminds folks to "remain vigilant and fight evil" during 9/11 ceremony Monday.
Photo by Steve Ognibene
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Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
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NYS Senator George Borrello speaks to US Army Veteran John McCune at 9/11 rememberance service, VA hospital Batavia  Photo by Steve Ognibene
NYS Senator George Borrello speaks to U.S. Army veteran John McCune at 9/11 remembrance ceremony Monday at the VA Medical Center in Batavia.
Photo by Steve Ognibene
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Flags in shape of Twin towers placed on V.A. grounds this morning. Photo by Steve Ognibene
Flags representing the shape of the Twin Towers have been placed on the grounds of the VA Medical Center in Batavia.
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Photos: Flags placed at VA in remembrance of 9/11 victims

By Howard B. Owens

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More than two dozen volunteers placed 2,977 in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attack victims outside the VA Hospital in Batavia.

Organizations represented by the volunteers included VA employees, the VA police force, National Fuel, and the American Legion.

Photos by Howard Owens

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Photos: Children set up free lemonade stand for first responders on 9-11 anniversary

By Howard B. Owens

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To honor first responders on the 20th anniversary of 9-11 yesterday, Lilah Guarino and her friends set up a lemonade stand and gave free lemonade to police officers and firefighters.

Her father, Mike Guarino, who submitted the photos, said, "They ended up having some visitors from the city police and fire department.  It was awesome.  The kids were very thankful and excited."

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Jacobs releases statement on 20th anniversary of 9-11

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement on the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. 

“Twenty years ago today, our nation came under attack from a foreign enemy, and we lost 3,000 American mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and heroes. It was one of our nation’s darkest hours – clouded by smoke, fear, and uncertainty. We did not know what tomorrow holds, let alone the next few hours. But we also witnessed the true meaning of what it means to be an American. Amidst that uncertainty and fear, we witnessed bravery and courage, and selflessness that made each of us proud to be an American.

“Our first responders and regular citizens alike rushed into the flames and collapsing buildings to save their fellow Americans, many losing their own lives in the process. And a whole generation of Americans enlisted in our nation’s military to go overseas and bring to justice each and every single person who sought harm against our nation. America was tested in our resolve, and in true American fashion, we banded together emerged stronger than we were before. 

“It has now been two decades since that day – but the pain and clarity of it still remain recent in our minds. Today, 20 years later, we remember our fallen brothers and sisters, and we honor the brave men and women who ran into darkness to save lives and defend our nation. They were true American heroes, as is every single service member who has spent the last 20 years keeping our nation safe. Our nation is eternally grateful for that service, and our nation will never forget. 

“So today, reflect on the events of 20 years ago, take a moment to honor those who perished, those who fought, and those who continue to fight and pass on the memory of those heroes and this day to the new generation who were not alive in 2001. God bless the United States of America. 

Emotional reaction to 9/11 inspired city police officer, firefighter to do their part to protect our freedoms

By Mike Pettinella

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This morning’s 9/11 remembrance at the Veness-Strollo Post 1602 VFW grounds included speeches from Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey (at right in photo above) of the Batavia Police Department and Lt. Dave Green of the Batavia Fire Department – both of whom said the events of that tragic day prompted them to enlist or re-enlist, respectively, in the military.

Here are their speeches:

Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey

It truly is an honor to be here among fellow service men and women who have served and those who continue to serve, and I would just like to take a moment to say thanks for what you do.

I just came across an article the other day that compared the two biggest military recruitment surges as Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The unique aspect of this is that those who enlisted after these events knew what they were signing up for.

It wasn’t for free college tuition and it wasn’t for pay or any other benefit. It was to step forward and fight for our country. I was in high school when 9/11 happened.

I’ll never forget the events of that day. I’ll never forget how I felt. I will never forget driving around after school and seeing everyone putting up American flags.

I will never forget the pride I felt for our country after that tragic day. I will never forget the images of first responders running toward the World Trade Center towers to help people while the majority of people were running away.

I will never forget the images of the men and women in the armed forces bringing the fight to the enemy who had the audacity to attack us on our soil that day.

I will never forget coming home to my dad on the phone with an Army recruiter, only to be turned down because he was too old to join.

The events of 9/11 and our country responses shaped the better part of my life. I was one of many of the post-9/11 military recruitment surge as I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after I graduated from high school in 2003.

I served six years as a TACP (Tactical Air Control Party Officer) calling in air strikes for my Army counterparts. I completed three tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After I was honorable discharged, I knew that I wanted to continue to serve but in a capacity that was more personal to me.

I was fortunate enough to join the Batavia Police Department where I have had the privilege of serving my community for the past 11 years. In no way do I share this story for personal accolades. I share it because I believe it our duty to educate the next generation about duty, service and sacrifice.

Lt. Dave Green

I had been discharged from the Army National Guard just a couple of years before that. I went to work that morning, met up with my partner on the ambulance, and we went to work – met up with the other ambulance crew for the day and had just gotten some breakfast at the hospital that morning.

It’s strange but I remember details of that morning but the rest of the day was a blur. After seeing the planes hit the towers and the other locations, and the continuous news reports, I can remember feeling helpless and feeling a need to do something.

In the hours that passed, we sat and watched our world change. I’m proud to say that the City of Batavia Fire Department stepped up and sent crews to New York City as soon as we were able. However, I was not in that response.

So, for me, there still a feeling I needed to do something. After a discussion with my wife, I decided to get back in the military in a reserve capacity. As time passed, I still felt the draw and eventually got my time to serve.

I eventually deployed on three separate occasions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The City of Batavia supported my efforts and allowed me to keep my medical coverage for my family while I was serving overseas.

I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve my country and to be able to serve the community where I live. On this anniversary of this tragedy I’m drawn to a memory of one of my deployments, where a sign hung that said, “Today is September 12th.”

For me that means a chance to help pick up the pieces; to show that we are stronger than that event. I’m proud to be a veteran, a firefighter and a member of this community.

Batavia VFW marks 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001 terrorist attack: 'We will not forget'

By Mike Pettinella

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” – President George W. Bush.

As those words by a president seeking to calm a nation shocked by the events of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, resound to this day, officials of VFW Veness-Strollo Post 1602 this morning conducted a moving and fitting tribute to the nearly 3,000 lives lost as a result of that horrific terrorist attack on American soil.

The Batavian, as a community service to those unable to attend today's remembrance event, is publishing the text of the speeches given by Assemblyman Steven Hawley, VFW member Max Sernoffsky (who acted as master of ceremonies), Post 1602 Junior Vice Commander John Woodworth Jr. and City Councilman-At-Large Robert Bialkowski.

Another story, featuring Batavia Police Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey and Batavia Fire Lt. Dave Green, will follow.

Assemblyman Steven Hawley

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It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Most, if not all of us, remember exactly what we were doing that day … almost as if it were yesterday. Where we were; who we were with and how we felt. Watching the twin towers (of the World Trade Center in New York City) fall changed our lives and our nation forever.

As New Yorkers, we were all particularly affected by the attack close to our own homes. We are forever grateful to our first responders, many of whom still live with the physical and psychological effects of their service during that tragic time.

Their courage can not be understated. Thousands of firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and police officers rushed into danger at that scene to save others during the attack – and we will never forget the hundreds of responders who died so that others might live.

After the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01, a sense of unity spread throughout the entire country. American flags blossomed everywhere – on homes and on businesses. Bumper stickers and magnets declaring support for our military were a common sight on highways. And we came together to support those within our communities and beyond.

The American spirit of resilience was on full display, just as it was during our Revolution and during the World Wars. We must always remember that resiliency and never forget that regardless of our personal or political differences, we are united freely and equally as one people under our Constitution.

It is that commitment to our common ideals and the respect for one another that has empowered us to be as strong as we are. The events of the past few weeks have thrust us into a new period, and reminds us – home or abroad – the strength, bravery and skill of our military service members are what stand between freedom and tyranny.

The men and women who fought in Afghanistan should be welcomed home as heroes, and those we lost should be remembered and honored for all history. They fought bravely for a righteous cause. As soldiers return to their families, we must ensure they’re given every resource to make a successful transition back into life at home.

Most of all, they deserve our gratitude and respect.

Max Sernoffsky, VFW Post 1602 member

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Three major questions have got my attention while planning this event: who, how and, most importantly, why.

Well, 911 has always been known as a sign of distress. If there is trouble, just call the number and you get help from first responders. So, the question of who. Who are we honoring? Definitely, first responders.

Sept. 11, 2001 was very different. This was a very vicious and malicious attack on all of America through which our World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked. In essence, the heartbeat of America.

On this day all of America responded. America became proud, ready and united. On this day, we honor all Americans who made themselves ready for the call to protect our way of life.

The question of how? It has been said that how we should act is sad and somber. I totally agree what happened 20 years ago was anything but a celebration. Well, America did not die on that day. America came together. Angry and upset, maybe, but definitely united.

As one may say, let a sleeping dog lie, because after this tragedy America did become alive. Every patriotic American volunteered to support the cause of freedom.

The most important question is why? Why are we gathered here today? This is a remembrance event. Remember there are some out there that try to take our freedoms, rights and way of life from us … as American we must always be prepared to protect and defend as we did on that day.

Heroes on Flight 93 were the first to respond. They were American citizens who were very heroic. They stopped the terrorists from reaching their mark in an attempt to destroy America. To those brave American citizens, we just always remember and never forget. Let us honor them by doing what it takes to keep our country free.

Among us today, we have many veterans and first responders. We also have many citizens whose help was instrumental. Several are part of the many organizations that are here to serve. Why? Because they believe in what you're doing for our country.

To our young citizens, I realize you were too little or not even born when this tragic event took place. To you I realize that you are about to embark on a path – whatever you become – doctors, firemen, policemen or even a member of the armed forces. There will be times you feel alone along the way, alienated, tested or even overwhelmed.

Just remember … we always have your back. I encourage you all to stay around after the ceremony and engage first hand with our fellow veterans, supporting organizations and first responders. Ask the questions, gain knowledge, insight and wisdom from them.

(He also thanked the businesses who supported the ceremony).

Today, we remember our firefighters, police force, armed forces and citizens who all stepped forward when they first got the news. These people ran toward the danger – not away from it. Why? Because there were American citizens in those towers.

It is because of that bravery that many lives were saved. They did this knowing full well of the risk that they themselves may never make it back alive. I can’t say this enough. It is Americans like you that make me so proud to be an American.

Please God, always give me the same strength that they had to be ready to face danger and to never turn my back to it. Whenever I think of the many Americans selflessly doing their part, protecting our way of life, it just makes me so thankful and patriotic.

Why do Americans do this? It is because Americans are resilient. They do this because America is worth protecting. As long as we continue to have our brave young Americans protecting our way of life, we will forever be and always will be the greatest nation ever.

Councilmember-At-Large Robert Bialkowski

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We certainly live in very troubled times. 20 years (ago), it seems like just an hour ago, the mainland of our country was attacked by our enemies. Please, let’s never, ever forget this day.

Four airliners were hijacked and used for these attacks of terror. American Airlines Flight 11 was crashed into the World Trade Center north tower at 8:46 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 was crashed 17 minutes later into the south tower at 9:03 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the west side of the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93, heading for target White House or the Capitol building was overtaken by some very brave passengers and crashed in Shanksville, Pa., at 10:03 a.m.

Many of us have had friends, relatives and associates working in these buildings. I, personally, had a relative and other military people I knew that were working in the Pentagon at that time. By the grace of God, they escaped.

The aftermath of this attack was 2,977 fatalities. Over 25,000 people were also injured. Three hundred and forty firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers paid the ultimate sacrifice performing their heroic rescue attempts, and to this day there are thousands of people suffering health issues.

This was a major attack and it all occurred in minutes, and it was well laid out and well planned. These people – al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS and all the other terrorist groups – are our enemies and must be treated as such. They will never be our friends and we must never forget.

It’s an honor to be here today to recognize our local post 1602 and the entire VFW organization for all your unselfish work supporting all our veterans. Since your beginning in 1899 … that’s a long time to be providing services. You provide a home, and when I say home, I’m talking about a community – a community where all veterans are welcome with honor and dignity.

He then was joined by City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. in presenting a proclamation from the City of Batavia recognizing today as “911 Day of Remembrance in the City of Batavia” and encourage citizens to honor the lives of those lost to participation in community service and remembrance ceremonies on this day and throughout this year.

VFW Post 1602 Junior Vice Commander John Woodworth Jr.

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I encourage our recruits to understand that the VFW and American Legion is our voice in Washington, D.C. We have to depend on each other, so I highly recommend that you join these organizations to support not just ourselves but our community as well.

My name is John Woodworth Jr. I'm a U.S. Air Force retiree and I continue to serve our great nation as of now, for 31 years.

I would like to speak about September 11th, 2001, as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the events ... and remember all those who lost their lives on that tragic day. To me, September 11th has been the worst attack on the American people and the second worst attack on America’s resolve.

The first, as many may know already, is December 7th, 1941, at the Pearl Harbor Naval Stations. However, but instead of another country waging war on our nation using military force against military force, 19 Islamic extremists committed an unthinkable act of cowardliness against the American people and tested our resolve. These 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners – American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93.

They used them as weapons of mass destruction on American citizens and citizens from 77 different countries. These weren’t the only victims of 911. We lost 412 of America’s heroes, and I’m referring to our firefighters, police officers and medical personnel who answered the call and gave all save tens of thousands of lives during rescue operations at the World Trade Center.

Which leads me to the other heroes of September 11th – Chief Master Sgt. Troy McIntosh from the Pentagon who rushed into flames three times to help evacuate wounded personnel and Master Sgt. Noel Sepulveda, a career medical technician, who pulled six injured people through windows and set up a triage in the parking lot. And finally, the passengers of Flight 93.

The passengers of Flight 93, after learning the intentions of their hijackers, established a plan to retake their aircraft from these assailants – transforming themselves from victims to heroes. Their sacrifice resulted in safeguarding an unknown number lives at the hijackers’ unknown target – cementing themselves as the first ones to fight terrorism on September 11th, and in my eyes, the biggest heroes of the day.

The actions of our first responders and Flight 93 passengers inspired and strengthened America’s resolve.

I often wonder if Osama Bin Laden felt the same pressure as Japanese World War II Admiral Yamamoto by awakening a sleeping giant. Did Bin Laden recognize true might of America or did he misjudge America’s pursuit of peace as a weakness?

On Sept. 18, 2001, President Bush signed a bill to authorize use of military force. Then on Oct. 7, 2001, U.S. forces began air campaigns against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces. For nearly 20 years, the U.S. armed forces kept the fight on enemy soil.

However, the war on terrorism isn’t truly over as we discovered on August 26th, 2021, when 13 American service members lost their lives to a suicide bombing as the United States was withdrawing from Afghanistan to officially end the longest war in American history. (He then mentioned a display inside the VFW set up to honor those 13 service members).

My final words for September 11th are this:

We should never forget the men, women and children whose lives were so tragically on the ground and in the air. We should never forget the sacrifice our first responders and the passengers of Flight 93. As Americans, we need to remain ever vigilant and continue to stand together to stand together against terrorism.

As Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer quoted, “Let’s roll.”

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Photos at bottom: U.S. Army personnel observing a moment of silence; Tom Cecere rings the bell at 8:46 a.m. to mark the first strike into the World Trade Center (other bell ringings took place at 9:03, 9:37 and 10:03); playing of taps as VFW honor guard stands at attention. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Photos: 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in Alexander

By Howard B. Owens

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Volunteer firefighters from Alexander, Town of Batavia, Le Roy, Darien, and Bethany, along with Sheriff's deputies and State troopers, participated on Friday morning in a remembrance ceremony for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States at Alexander Central School.

Photos by Alecia Kaus.

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Batavia VFW Post 1602 announces 9/11 remembrance

By Mike Pettinella

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VFW Veness-Strollo Post 1602 is planning a solemn ceremony in remembrance of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001 – 9/11 – beginning at 8 a.m. this Saturday at the facility’s grounds at 25 Edward St.

Post Junior Vice Commander John Woodworth said the event will be marked by a variety of tributes, including:

  • Speeches by Assemblyman Steven Hawley, Batavia City Council member Robert Bialkowski, representatives of Batavia’s police and fire departments and Woodworth;
  • Bell ringing followed by moments of silence corresponding to key times of the terrorist attack on that fateful morning (8:46, 9:03, 9:37 and 10:03);
  • A 21-gun salute around 10:30 a.m. commemorating the fall of the last tower of the World Trade Center;
  • An “Echo Taps” salute performed by two buglers.

The ceremony will commence with a meet-and-greet with free coffee and donuts at 8 o’clock, with Hawley delivering his address at 8:30.

Following the observance, a jamboree is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with live music by Bill Pitcher, Julia Morales Jr., Front Porch Pickers and Old State Roadhouse. Pizza will be provided.

An information fair with representatives from various veterans’ services organizations is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those include the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency, WNY Heroes, Inc., Department of Veterans Affairs, Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. and the Veterans Outreach Center at the VA Medical Center.

In Le Roy, American Legion Botts-Fiorito Post 576 at 53 West Main St. will observe a moment of silence in memory of 9/11 during its special dinner event from 2-6 p.m. Saturday. Steamed corn, sausage and salt potato dinners will be available for purchase for $12.

The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. soil (New York City, the Pentagon and plane crash in Pennsylvania) by the militant Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda resulted in the deaths of 2,996 people (2,977 victims plus 19 al-Qaeda terrorists) and injuries to an estimated 25,000 more.

It remains the deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the U.S., with 340 and 72 killed, respectively.

RSVP volunteers honor 9/11 victims and first responders with donations to local food pantries

By Press Release

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Submitted photo and press release:

Recently members of Genesee County’s RSVP Volunteer Placement Program delivered hundreds of nonperishable and personal care items to local food pantries. Local agencies report these donations are greatly needed due to increased demand during COVID-19. 

This service project was chosen as a way to honor 9/11 victims and those who rose in service in response to 9/11.

As so many did on 9/11, numerous individuals and organizations are helping others who are struggling during this pandemic.

RSVP wishes to thank all the volunteers, community members and local businesses for their generosity, which made this delivery possible.  

For more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact Courtney Iburi (RSVP) at (585) 343-1611.

Photos: 9/11 remembrance in Corfu

By Howard B. Owens

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Members of the volunteer Corfu Rescue Hook & Ladder Co. #1 carried the U.S. flag through the village yesterday evening in remembrance of those who fell on Sept. 11, 2001.

Photos submitted by Tyler Lang.

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Hawley on 9/11: 'For a moment our freedom was compromised'

By Billie Owens

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“On a day just like today 18 years ago, our nation came under attack. Nearly 3,000 citizens, firefighters and police officers, began their mornings just like any other. On that day they tragically lost their lives.

“No one could imagine the events that transpired that September morning, and for a moment our freedom was compromised.

“An attack intended to break our spirits and devastate our nation, in our darkest hour faced with pure evil, Americans responded with bravery and courage. An effort to tear us apart only brought us closer together.

“Today we hold the ones we love a little tighter, we remember those we lost and we honor those who gave everything to protect our freedom. 

“The memory of September 11, 2001 will remain in our hearts forever, but the strength and resiliency that defines this country will always prevail in the face of darkness.

“We will never forget.”

Pavilion senior and volunteer firefighter walks 110 flights of stairs to honor the victims of 9-11

By Howard B. Owens

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Today Timothy Zipfel, a senior at Pavilion High School and a volunteer with the Pavilion Fire Department, donned his turnout gear and air tank today to walk 110 flights of stairs at the school in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America.

Of course, Pavilion only has three flights of stairs, so Zipfel walked up three flights and then down three flights about 36 times to complete the 110 flights.

There were 110 flights of stairs in each of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

The attack was 17 years ago and Zipfel is only 17 years old. He said the impact of the attack hit him when he was young when his parents told him about it and he determined then that he would do something to honor the victims.

This is the second year he's climbed the stairs.

"I believe that today is one of the days that no one in this great nation should ever forget," Zipfel said. "I feel like it should be honored."

RSVP volunteers and AmeriCorps members honor 9/11 victims and first responders with donations for local food pantries

By Billie Owens

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Submitted photo, information from a press release:

Today members of Genesee County’s RSVP and AmeriCorps programs spent the day sorting donated nonperishable food items that they will deliver to three local food pantries.

This was part of a coordinated a service project to help community members in need as a way to honor 9/11 victims and those who rose in service in response to 9/11.

The donated food items were collected at RSVP volunteer stations, AmeriCorps host sites and County Government offices. 

For more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact Courtney Iburi (RSVP) at 585-343-1611. 

RSVP and AmeriCorps collecting non-perishable food items until Aug. 31 for needy to honor 9/11 victims and responders

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Genesee County’s RSVP and AmeriCorps programs are coordinating a service project to help community members in need as a way to honor 9/11 victims and those who rose in service in response to 9/11. Non-perishable food items will be collected from Aug. 14 – 31 at the following RSVP volunteer stations, AmeriCorps host sites and County Government offices: 

  • Genesee County Office for the Aging & Youth Bureau, 2 Bank St., Batavia;
  • Genesee County Building I, 15 Main St., Batavia (3rd Floor near elevator);
  • Genesee County Building II, 3837 W. Main Street Road, Batavia;
  • Catholic Charities, 25 Liberty St., Suite 7, Batavia;
  • Gillam-Grant Community Center, 6966 W. Bergen Road, Bergen;
  • Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia.

All donations will be delivered to local food pantries during the week of 9/11. 

For more information, please contact Courtney Iburi (RSVP) at 585-343-1611 or Kathy Frank (AmeriCorps) at 585-344-3960.

Photos: 9-11 ceremony at VA

By Howard B. Owens

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Veterans came together at the VA Center for a 9-11 remembrance ceremony.

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Photos: 9-11 remembrance at VA Center

By Howard B. Owens

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The Batavia PTSD Peer Support Volunteers led a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the VA Center this morning.

Participating were local veterans and the Batavia police and fire departments.

The event honored those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and those who have died or gone missing in action in American wars.

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Photo: 9/11 tribute on Morton Avenue

By Howard B. Owens

Pam Kilgore hung this 9/11 tribute in front of her house on Morton Avenue today. She said her husband painted the tribute sign four years ago.

Mercy Flight and Terry Hills pay tribute to first responders on 9/11

By Howard B. Owens

Terry Hills hosted the 5th Annual Hackers for Helicopter golf tournament today to benefit Mercy Flight.

The event served as a tribute to first responders. Mercy Flight pilot Brian Smith spoke of the dedication and sacrifice of first responders on behalf of their communities and said that all first responders consider it an honor to serve. Joining him were crew members William Hockenberry and Susan Thompson.

Skydivers also parachuted onto the ninth fairway to help kick off the event.

The skydiving team of Mike Maly, Bob McEvoy, Tim Allen, Bill Zipfel, with Nichols and Anthony Maly holding the flag. Mike Maly is a Buffalo firefighter and Zipfel is a member of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Both wore their uniforms for their dive.

Statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on anniversary of Sept. 11

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

"On this day, we mark the eleventh anniversary of the terror attacks that claimed thousands of lives and truly changed New York and our nation forever. On this day, we honor the memories and the lives of those who were killed and the families who will never forget them. We also honor the first responders who bravely put themselves in harm’s way – many of whom never returned home.

"It is also our obligation and our duty to make sure that we will always remember. As a new generation grows up without having witnessed the horror of September 11th, it is important to educate our children so they can understand the tragedy that unfolded on that day, the bravery and courage of our first responders, and the outpouring of goodwill in communities across New York and America as we recovered as one state and one nation."

UPDATE:  Statement from Rep. Kathy Hochul:

“Today as we mark the passing of another year since the September 11 attacks in 2001, we honor those we lost on that day. We recall the innocent victims taken too soon, the courage of the passengers who prevented further tragedy, and those first responders, who in doing their jobs, laid down their lives to protect their fellow Americans.

“What grew from this tragedy was an all encompassing spirit of patriotism, bonding our nation together in common purpose to move our country forward. Our endeavor today is to find that spirit once again. We must recognize that so much more binds us than divides us, and as Americans we are capable of solving the challenges of our time.

“In the memory of all who were lost on 9/11, I call on each of us to rekindle the spirit of patriotism that brought us together in our country’s darkest hour.”

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