SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of September 11th was held at Riverfront Park in Springfield Friday night.

A total of 498 first responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, were honored during the Spirit of Springfield’s annual September 11th Remembrance Ceremony at Riverfront Park, it began at 6 p.m. Those who wished to attend the free event were able to access Riverfront Park at the State Street entrance, seating was limited however, lawn chairs and blankets were welcomed.

Speeches were conducted by Mayor Domenic Sarno, Colonel William Bladen, Commander of the 104th Fighter Wing, Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood, Fire Commissioner B. J. Calvi, and Emily Chandler, representing American Medical Response. 

Video messages from former President George W. Bush and U. S. Congressman Richard Neal were included as well as messages from guests who attended the 9/11 Monument dedication ceremony in 2019. The messages collected include representatives from Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York Police and Fire Departments, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and from President George W. Bush’s offices, Andrew H. Card Jr., former Chief of Staff, and Bradley Blakeman, former Deputy Assistant for Appointments and Scheduling, Vetting and Research, Correspondence and Surrogate Scheduling. 

The names of the 498 first responders were displayed on a large LED screen. Vanessa V. Ford and Joe C. Broadnax will perform “Hero” and “You Raise Me Up.” Tolling of the fire bell, taps, laying of a wreath, and a rollout of emergency equipment across the Memorial Bridge will also be included during the ceremony.

A unique 9/11 photographic exhibit is on display in the lobby of One Financial Plaza at 1350 Main Street in downtown Springfield through September 17. The exhibit shows 22 photographs tracing the progress of creating Springfield’s 9/11 Monument. From the arrival of the steel beam from New York City ten years ago, to the dedication of the monument at Riverfront Park in 2019.