The city of Springfield, Massachusetts held its annual September 11th remembrance ceremony today at a new venue.
The ceremony, which pays tribute to the courage, heroism, and sacrifice of the first responders to the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, was held for the first time in Riverfront Park in front of Springfield’s 9/11 Monument.
As in past years, there were prayers, solemn remarks, a rifle salute, the playing of “Taps,” the ringing of a fire bell, and a rollout of emergency vehicles.
Dedicated earlier this year, the monument features a vertical steel beam from the World Trade Center and a curved bronze wall engraved with the names of the 498 emergency responders who lost their lives on that fateful day.
The new monument grabbed its share of attention before and after the 45-minute ceremony with people taking photos and searching out names.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno described the monument as “tasteful and respectful.”
"We will always remember and never forget 9/11," said Sarno.
Springfield Fire Commissioner Bernard Calvi said it was particularly poignant to hold the ceremony next to a 9/11 artifact.
" That piece of steel signifies service above self, which is what all first responders are called to do," said Calvi.
Recalling that 343 firefighters died on 9/11, Calvi said the events of that day profoundly changed the role of the fire services in the United States.
" It changed fire departments into multi-faceted emergeny agency because we've been called on since that day to respond to so much more than fires," said Calvi.
Several speakers touched on the unity in the country that 9/11 inspired. Acting Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said it inspired many to public service.
"People in their teens, twenties, and thirties were drawn to our military and to our first responder services as a way to show honor, pride and respect to those who lost their lives," said Clapprood.
Col. Peter Green, commander of the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base, said there is a generation of young adults now who see 9/11 as an event in history.
"Today is a day we must always remember," said Green. " A day of tragedy, of heroism, of sadness, of bravery, and of terrible sacrifice."
The ceremony concluded with public safety officials laying a wreath at monument.