Dunkirk firefighters and the community gathered at City Hall Sunday to fulfill the promise the department made 10 years earlier - never forget.
Michael Edwards, President of Local 616, welcomed the crowd to the 10th anniversary remembrance ceremony.
"Today's ceremony is in remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the national tragedy. A day that 2,984 people were killed - 2819 at the World Trade Center, 125 at the Pentagon, 40 aboard Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. We pay respect and give tribute to all the victims and honor the sacrifice of 343 FDNY brothers who perished along with 23 NYPD and 27 Port Authority officers," Edwards said.
Dunkirk 9-11 ceremony
The Dunkirk Firefighter's color guard, the color guard of the Dunkirk High School JROTC and the First Ward Falcon Boy Scout Troop 208 color guard flanked the speakers with flags and axes.
Joanne Michalski sang the national anthem and later "God Bless America."
Mayor Richard Frey presented the fire department with the iconic picture of New York Fire Department's Chaplain at the time of the attacks, Father Mychal Judge.
OBSERVER?Photo by Nicole Gugino
Dunkirk Assistant Fire Chief Allen Loeb said his organization had promised to never forget the sacrifice made by the 343 firefighters who perished on Sept. 11.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
The Dunkirk Professional Firefighters’ Color Guard stood at ease during the 10th anniversary remembrance ceremony for Sept. 11.
It was Judge, who went to ground zero to pray for the firefighters safety and perished himself. Frey also thanked the fire fighters for the job they do everyday.
Police Chief David Ortolano began the day's speakers by saying he remembers Sept. 11 everyday and wears a pin on his lapel in remembrance.
Edwards then rang a bell 3 times, 4 times and 3 times for the 343 firefighters lost on Sept. 11 and Brandon Katta played Taps.
Dunkirk Assistant Fire Chief Allen Loeb spoke next about the heroism of the first responders that day.
"Its been 10 years since 9-11 and we've been commemorating and celebrating the heroism of that day and we will continue to do so... The initial response came from the public safety forces of the city of New York, namely the fire department and the police department. They raced to the scene in great numbers, they disregarded extraordinary danger and they set out to rescue the thousands that were in peril ...
"My brother, Stuart, left his home in the suburbs of New York that morning to report to his fire station in Manhattan. He said the traffic on the way in was heavy and each car carried a firefighter, a police office, a doctor or a nurse. There was not retreat ... The terrorists had succeeded in destroying our iconic building but they had failed to destroy the American spirit," Loeb said.
Lt. Gary Katta had a similar message. He said that him and his fellow firefighter had been glued to the news that day and were ready to go to ground zero if they received a call.
"As we watched we knew the firefighters would perish as they entered the smoke and flames ... This is one of the most selfless acts of bravery in history, these men and women of the FDNY were not superhuman, they were ordinary men and women like us just doing their jobs ...
Loeb finished with a vow made 10 years ago.
"My organization, the Dunkirk Profession Firefighters Local 616, made a promise on Sept. 11, 2001. We promised the families of the 343 firefighters that gave their lives that day that we would honor their sacrifice. That we will never forget and that we will tell their story and we won't ever stop, not 10 years later or 20 or ever as long as we exist," he said.
He gave one final piece of advice for all, especially the youth in the audience.
"Decades from now those of your that are fortunate enough to reach an old age ... You will be the final people on earth to remember, to have a first-hand account of 9-11. My advice to you is no matter how many years the good Lord gives you on this earth, no matter where you go or what you do, no matter what course this nation takes, do not let Sept. 11 pass without notice," he added.