There were still tears to shed Friday on the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Those gathered at American Legion Post 118 in Amherst stood stiffly, listening to a tolling bell in honor of the 2,977 innocent lives lost in the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
“Our hearts and prayers go to families who lost loved ones,” said the Rev. Mike Plog of Faith Baptist Church, praying for protection for soldiers, police officers, and firefighters.
City safety-service director Mark Costilow’s voice shook as he recalled learning hijackers had flown a plane into the World Trade Center.
“Every channel had the same devastating live shot of the first tower smoking. Little did I know there was more terror to follow. Then the second plane hit the other tower,” he said. “I stood in front of the TV stunned in disbelief, having feelings of grief, loneliness, then anger. How could this be happening? How could anyone do this to us?”
Legion post commander Bill Hoff was also emotional recounting how a friend’s son died on Flight 93, which crashed in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, as passengers tried to wrest control from terrorists.
“It doesn’t seem like 14 years since 9/11 happened. But it did and it was senseless,” he said, hung head low.
Sergeant-at-arms Don Griffith laid a memorial wreath Friday at the North Lake Street veterans hall. Chaplain Bill Drexler struck a bronze bell 11 times — once for every military conflict in which the United States has been embroiled since the Revolutionary War.
“Your presence sends a message to all that we remember 9/11 just as we remember Pearl Harbor, the only other attack on American soil,” Hoff told a crowd of roughly 50 that gathered to mark the anniversary.
Amherst veterans also plan gather Dec. 7 to mark Pearl Harbor Day.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Amherst fire chief Wayne Northeim and police chief Joseph Kucirek pay silent respects as a bell tolls in honor of safety forces who suffered losses in the aftermath of the 2001 terror attacks.