9/11 ceremony held in Wappingers

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First responders pay tribute to comrades killed on 9/11

WAPPINGER – Dozens gathered at the Sergeant Mark C. Palmateer 9/11 Memorial Park in the Town of Wappinger to commemorate the lives of both civilians and first responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Jeff Crianza was one of those first responders during 9/11, and the now-retired EMS worker attended his first 9/11 memorial since the attacks.
“I was out sick that day when the planes hit the towers, I looked at my wife and said ‘I had to go’,” Crianza said. “Unfortunately, I saw people jumping; friends of mine going into the towers and never returning.”
Town Councilman William Beale hosted the ceremony, which was filled with respect for those whose lives were lost but also filled with reminders to embrace the same message of unity that brought the country together after the World Trade Center attacks.
“It is hard to believe it’s been 17 years since our nation’s darkest day,” Beale said. “Despite the fact that 17 years have passed, the pain still continues. We believe that we have a high responsibility not just to never forget 9/11, but to make sure our own town residents have the opportunity to come together to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
In further honor of this sacrifice, the ceremony is held in the memorial park each year at the same time the Twin Towers started to go down, 8:46 a.m.
Town Supervisor Richard Thurston also embraced a message of coming together in his remarks. He shared with the crowd a story about a flight he took to Canada after the tragedy, and how passengers embraced one another in the aftermath.
“On that flight, I will never forget sitting in what turned out to be a tremendous flight of renewal and friendship,” Thurston said. “Let’s strive to have a better place for our children and grandchildren, so that 9/11 will never be forgotten.”  He then encouraged the crowd to introduce themselves to one another, just like the passengers did on the flight he took.
Rev. Edward Hunt of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Wappingers Falls brought that message of unity home, a message that is especially relevant in such a divisive political climate.
“To the community, we must stick together and realize that this is the greatest nation in the world,” Hunt said.
The memorial park’s namesake was killed in combat during the War on Terror in 2008, and the park serves as both a memorial for him and those who died on 9/11. The late sergeant’s family was in attendance to lay a wreath in honor of his sacrifice.