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Ceremony Honors 9/11 First Responders


September 11th remembrance ceremonies took place across the region today in communities large and small.  The city of Springfield, Massachusetts held an annual memorial to the emergency workers killed in the terrorist attack.

   Of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11th attacks 14 years ago, 414 were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center.  These included firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private ambulance companies. 

Each group of first responders is memorialized on an engraved stone monument outside the Raymond Sullivan Public Safety Complex in Springfield, where on Friday the city’s police and fire commissioners and a representative from the American Medical Response ambulance company placed a wreath.

About 200 people attended the ceremony that was held under cloudy skies.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said the ceremony is a salute to the heroism displayed on 9-11.

" It hurts and pains me that we continue to see groups of hate gather together to celebrate their bigotry and hatred," he said.

Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri urged people to remember the widows and orphans left by the people who went to work  on the fateful day 14 years ago and did not come home.

" It is my humble honor to speak you today on behalf of my brothers and sisters in public safety who sacrificed their lives on that day. I ask you to join me on this day in remembrance of those true heroes and their families and take our current members into your thoughts and prayers," said Barbieri.

Springfield Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant thanked the people who came to the ceremony and said he remembered many of the faces in the crowd from prior years’ observances.  He said stirring the memories from 9-11 helps to promote greater respect for public servants.

"I know there are a lot of issues across the country toward police officers, but I think a majority of people still respect the job we do.  We've got people who come up and say ' thank you' all the time," said Conant.

  A 12-foot-long, 3,000 pound steel beam from one of the destroyed World Trade Center towers is to be incorporated into a 9-11 memorial in Springfield.  Judy Matt, president of  Spirit of Springfield, which obtained the artifact in 2011, said several locations for the memorial have been considered including Riverfront Park and Union Station, which is undergoing an $85 million restoration.

Matt said an announcement of a location is expected soon.

" We are going to put it into a wonderful monument that people can visit and pause and reflect," she said.

The steel girder donated to Springfield by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was on public display at the city’s 9-11 commemoration in 2011.  It is now being kept in storage by the Springfield Fire Dept.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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