Area commemorates Sept. 11 anniversary
YATES, SCHUYLER COUNTIES—Ten years after the tragedy of 9/11, people in the community took the time this past weekend to remember the anniversary and the loses resulting in the attacks on the U.S.
Members of several Yates County fire departments formed an honor guard at the Penn Yan firehouse on Sunday, Sept. 11. Each year a motorcycle run honors the victims of 9/11. One hundred sixty seven motorcycles made the 105 mile trip this year. However, Penn Yan firefighters were called out on a call minutes before the motorcycles arrived.
Many people watching the motorcycles were carrying American flags. One of those flags had special significance for the couple holding it. Pat and Mike Christensen have a son now serving in Afghanistan. The flag was flown in that country in 2004, two years after Christensen’s son joined the military. The flag was also displayed at the funeral procession for Christopher Scott’s return to Dundee on Saturday, Sept. 10. Pat said she put her cellphone on vibrate. When she looked at it, there was a message from her son.
“Life,” said Keuka College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, “forever changed that day, challenging our sense of stability and security.”
Keuka College held a remembrance ceremony on Sunday for the anniversary. Emergency personnel - including some Keuka alumni - from Yates County and other counties took part in the ceremony, led by College Chaplain Rev. Eric Detar.
“Many of us have our own personal memories of that day and find comfort in sharing with others as we remember, mourn, and reflect on the effects of this significant date,” said Diaz-Herrera. “In an effort to reflect upon what happened, we take this moment to pause in remembrance of the fallen and the survivors. We praise those heroes who gave their lives to help others, and we honor those who were the first responders.
“We are thankful that, in our midst today, we have representatives from those services who continue to assist our communities, ready to risk their lives to assist others.”
The president also praised the 15 Keuka students who spent their Field Periods or additional months of volunteer service in New York City assisting with post-9/11 relief efforts.
The ceremony included the dedication of an American elm tree, “the symbol of patriotism,” according to Detar. “This tree will serve as an enduring reminder of the 9/11 attacks.”
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Jim Blackburn read a statement from Betty Maxfield, a 1965 Keuka graduate and chief of Army Demographics in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel in the Pentagon. Maxfield survived the 9/11 attack on the building.
The Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County commemorated the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a special service on Sunday at Saint James’ Episcopal Church. Bishop Frank T. Griswold was the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in 2001 and was present in New York City in the aftermath of the attacks. He visited Saint Paul’s Chapel on Broadway, in the former shadows of the World Trade Center towers, many times to encourage the rescue workers who utilized the chapel for respite and food.