Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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Orange County honors 9/11 victims

Salutes from Larkin and Neuhaus

MONTGOMERY – First responders, servicemen and women, friends, family, as well as elected officials, gathered to honor the Orange County’s fallen involved in the 9-11 attacks, or who had lost their lives from illness after working at the World Trade Center after the towers fell, during the county’s annual 9-11 Memorial Ceremony at Thomas Bull Memorial Park.

The ceremony honored the 55 Orange County residents who died, 44 perishing during response or during the attacks and 11 in the line of duty afterwards.

Orange County Director of Veteran’s Affairs Christian Farrell said the phrase “Never Forget” is heard often, but the county and its community take this sentiment very seriously when it comes to honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Their families suffer the most, but I think the county itself, as a whole, really does a great job of never forgetting,” said Farrell. “You hear it all the time, ‘You never forget’. You want to remember them, honor them and we’ll keep doing that next year and forever.”

Senator William Larkin, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, said he has great empathy for those who lost family members, or brothers-in-arms, during the attacks. Looking back, Larkin said it is a daily occurrence to remember the first soldier who fell under his command, Robert Maples, during the Korean War. In this way, he wanted to communicate his understanding of never forgetting.

“He’s on my mind in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and at night because he was a person – a part of us, our team who defended America’s principles and everything else,” said Larkin. “We’re telling these people here tonight, ‘We have not forgotten your loved ones.’ May God bless you all and God bless America.”.

Robert Allen of Chester, who lost his son, Army National Guard Soldier First Lt. Louis Allen, in Iraq in 2005, said it is hard, but seeing so many from the community continuously show up in support gives him a bit of solace.

“It’s a little sad, but then you have days like this,” said Allen. “You saw the crowd in the tent and everything. It was a threatening day for rain and ugly humidity, and they come out because they remember.”

Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus said that is the sentiment he carries with him, that although it is sad, the consistent showing of support from those within the county, is something that makes him proud to witness.

“It is still almost surreal that this has happened 17 years later and I’m so overwhelmed with happiness to see the amount of people that come out from my community not only here, but the Washingtonville event they had earlier today- events throughout this county,” said Neuhaus. “You still have record crowds coming every year, supporting and coming together and showing what the great thing about this county is and that’s coming together at our worst times.”

County officials and first responders send their condolences and respect to those who had lost their lives, as well as to their families on this difficult occasion.

 


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