SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The September 11th monument at Riverfront park opened nearly three months ago, and Wednesday was the first time a remembrance ceremony was held.
The city of Springfield held a remembrance ceremony to honor the first responders killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. It was an emotional ceremony as community members reflected on the tragic day that changed our country forever.
Many of us know exactly where we were on September 11, 2001.
“I was on the road traveling westbound on the Pike and we heard the announcement that a small plane inadvertently struck one of the towers,” said Jim Allen, a former Massachusetts State Police trooper. “We knew this country was going to be changed forever.”
Springfield’s 9/11 Ceremony at Riverfront Park Wednesday included reflections from Springfield Mayor Sarno and fire commissioner B.j. Calvi.
Vanessa Ford sang the National Anthem and 22News Anchor Barry Kriger served as emcee. Red Cross volunteer Alberto Delarosa went to Ground Zero shortly after the attacks.
“I used to go to the Twin Towers to see the amazing view of the city but everything was gone,” said Delarosa. “It was like a nightmare that I would like to believe was just a dream, but it was a reality.”
This was the first 9/11 remembrance ceremony at Riverfront Park, since the dedication of the city’s permanent 9/11 memorial in June. The monument features a vertical I-beam from the World Trade Center and a curved bronze wall containing the names of 498 first responders who died as a result of the attack on America.
“It signifies what this day is all about and that’s service above self, everybody who responded that day, knew it was a dire situation and many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Springfield Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi told 22News. “That’s what the monument signifies and this day signifies.”
Commissioner Calvi said 343 firefighters lost their lives in New York on 9/11, but many more have died since from occupational cancer, due to toxic exposure on Ground Zero.