KINDERHOOK — The 21st anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil was marked Sunday in Greene and Columbia counties.
Ceremonies to honor those that were lost Sept. 11, 2001, were held in Cairo and Kinderhook.
Local scouts took center stage for the 9/11 ceremony in Kinderhook on Sunday.
Organizers opted to have no speakers this year with the many parts of the ceremony being performed by area Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies and Cub Scouts.
About 300 firefighters, police, scouts, elected officials and community members assembled at Volunteer Park on State Farm Road in Kinderhook for the 6 p.m. ceremony.
Ann Mueller, the organizer of the ceremony, told the crowd the memorial had been vandalized in recent weeks. She thanked the quick work of Mike Talarico and Matt Laverack for repairing the memorial in time for Sunday’s ceremony.
The American Flag at the 9/11 memorial, which had been at half-staff, was lowered and folded. It was replaced with a new American flag, which was then raised.
The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem followed.
Following the readings of the Girl Scout Promise and the Boy Scout Oath, a candlelight vigil was held. The candles were provided to all who attended the ceremony.
After Niverville Fire Department Chaplin Ken Kannley read the blessing, scouts took turns ringing the fire department bell four times to signify each attack that day.
The ceremony concluded with the Columbia District Pipers playing “Amazing Grace.”
The Columbia County 911 Memorial was built in 2002 by Girl Scouts and has annually served as the site for 911 remembrance ceremonies.
The scouting troops that participated on Sunday night included Girl Scout Troop 105, Cub Scout Pack 113, Boy Scout Troop 113, Venture Crew 113 and Cub Scout Pack 117.
A light rain held off as about 100 firefighters, police, elected officials and community members assembled at the Greene County 911 Emergency Services facility on Volunteer Drive in Cairo.
The Posting of Colors began the ceremony with a Color Guard provided by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and Cairo Police.
Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, addressed the crowd and spoke of how he hopes that no current first responders will have to endure what other first responders did on that fateful day.
“They were all heroes who risked their lives to save others,” Tague said.
Tague also noted how the tragedy that day brought the country together.
The guest of honor was retired Col. Kevin Hicks of the New York Army National Guard.
Hicks, a Greene County resident, was on a base in Leavenworth, Kansas, when the news broke in 2001. Hicks spoke of his experiences in the days and years that followed.
He was deployed to Afghanistan, where he was shot five times in both arms from an AK-47 rifle in Kandahar City. He has since recovered.
Greene County Sheriff Pete Kusminsky read the names of the five police officers from Greene County who died in the line of duty. Their names appear on the monument in Cairo.
“We should never forget 9/11 and those we lost in the attacks,” Kusminsky said.
The names of the 17 Greene County firefighters who died in the line of duty were read by Richard Frasco of Greene County Emergency Services, and Greene County Undersheriff Adam Brainard.
A bell sounded after each name was read.
Laura Marriott of Durham began the ceremony by singing the National Anthem and ended it with “Amazing Grace.”
State Sen. Michelle Hinchey, who was scheduled to be a guest speaker, did not arrive at the event.
The ceremony concluded with the playing of taps.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed and more than 25,000 others were injured. Of the 2,977 fatalities, 2,753 were killed in the World Trade Center and the surrounding area, 184 at the Pentagon and 40 in Pennsylvania. The deaths included 265 on the four planes flown into the World Trade Center towers.
On Sept. 11, 2001, the country watched in horror as the attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Shanksville, Pa., were televised. Passengers aboard Flight 93 forced the plane to crash to the ground to prevent another terrorist strike, likely the Capitol Building in Washington. The attacks led to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.