By Anya Tikka
MONGAUP VALLEY The Smallwood/Mongaup Valley Fire Company remembered 9/11 with an emotional ceremony timed to coincide with the actual time of the attacks of the fateful morning 11 years ago.
As the sun rose behind the firehouse on the chilly morning, firemen and the Sheriff’s Office Color Guard escorted those who lost loved ones in the attacks to unveil the newly mounted artifact from the World Center Towers in front of the building.
Firefighter John Scanlon, who emceed the ceremony, said in his address, “Many applied for an artifact from the Towers, but not many got it. We did.”
Scanlon noted how a member of the community, Lisa Wood, stepped up and said she wanted to acquire the artifact for the fire company. Others joined in forming a committee, and the result is now a permanently mounted memorial with the artifact and a plaque.
“It’s an ongoing effort,” Scanlon said, referring to the other work done around the monument, where a park with walkways is in the works. The monument was designed by Wood and Mark Escobal and received second place in the Sullivan Renaissance Category B.
Scanlon said the theme for this year is “Random acts of kindness.”
“Try to live your life with kindness. Take your time, be a nice person,” he said, giving some examples. He also asked for everyone to leave on their lights in memory of 9/11.
Scanlon lost his nephew Scott M. McGovern in the attack.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Sullivan County Legislator Chairman Scott Samuelson, and Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm were among the dignitaries attending the ceremony.
Gunther read a prayer she’d written two years ago, in which she remembered the rescue workers at the 9/11 site, as well as the victims and others. “Thank you from the depths of our hearts,” she concluded.
Gunther unveiled the artifact. On the monument is inscribed:
“Love is better than anger.
Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair.
So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.
And we’ll change the world.” Jack Layton.
“At night when the light hits this, the town relief on the monument is all lit up in colors. It looks like the city, while the background is pitch dark,” explained firefighter Loren Herndon after the ceremony looking at the monument. “It looks just like the real sky.”