Did anyone know that on Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2001, at 8:46:40, the face and feel of the world would change forever, and it would take only an instant?
Come forward 19 years to Sept. 11, 2020, and the face and feel of the world has changed once more. Today, as then, there seems to be no light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
In the midst of a global pandemic that shows few signs of abating, Columbia and Greene counties will remember what happened on 9/11, and the 3,000 lives lost, with ceremonies in Cairo and Kinderhook on Friday.
For the ninth straight year, area police, firefighters, veterans, public officials and local community members will assemble at the Greene County Emergency Services building at 25 Volunteer Drive in Cairo to remember the deaths of firefighters, law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel, all in the line of duty.
Columbia County will hold its 19th annual remembrance ceremony in Kinderhook, at the 9/11 Memorial on Volunteer Drive, off State Farm Road. The memorial was built by Girl Scouts in Service Unit No. 126 in 2002, and has been used for the annual ceremony since. Friday night’s program will include area fire companies, law enforcement, emergency services, area veterans and community members. State Police Capt. David Kolb will be the keynote speaker. The night will include the ringing of the fire bell, which is being brought up from New York City, to be used in the ceremony.
What will be unlike all past ceremonies are social distancing, wearing of face coverings and the absence of handshakes and embraces. We need to gather on 9/11 not only to remember, but to ensure that we never forget the events of that terrible day. If anything comes from Friday’s observances, it will be keeping us forever aware of the innocent people who died on 9/11, the men and women who made the supreme sacrifice fighting for freedom and security in its wake and, today, the essential and front-line workers who toil long hours at great personal risk to keep the nation safe from another cruel enemy.