CARMEL — Putnam County held its annual candlelight vigil for victims of the September 11 attacks, at a time when the nation faces another time of tragedy.
The vigil was held in a socially distanced manner at Cornerstone Park in Carmel and was live-streamed on YouTube for the general public. Only those who were involved in the ceremony were allowed at the park.
The ceremony also served as a memorial for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a tribute to nurses and doctors who continue to be part of the fight.
Putnam County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat served as the keynote speaker, highlighting the sacrifice of heroes both then and now. “This date will be engraved in our minds our hearts and souls to in many generations. Heroes were made that day,” he said. “Today’s hero, the essential worker, we thank and are grateful for. We live amongst heroes. You are all heroes.”
While the country today appears more divided than it was nineteen years ago, Dr. Nesheiwat reminded viewers to stay unified. “We are all in this together, the world has changed,” he said.
This year’s ceremony featured the addition of Commissioner Robert McMahon, Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, to the county’s 9/11 memorial. There was also a tree that was dedicated to the healthcare workers who fight to save lives during the pandemic, and for those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the area.
“This tree will remind us that our roots are embedded in a vital history of the generation before us,” said Eric Gross of the Putnam County News and Recorder, who read the names of those lost during 9/11. “Its far–reaching branches remind us that as frail as we are, we will stand tall and protect what we believe in.”
During 9/11, it was estimated that nine people in Putnam County lost their lives. Thus far, there have been 63 coronavirus-related deaths in the county.