(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 11, 2013)
For those old enough to remember it, the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 were life-changing. That’s why each year Ferndale residents gather at Memorial Park on Livernois to pay homage to those who were killed when airplanes stuck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon building in Washington, and those who thwarted their hijackers and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
The brief morning memorial began at 8:46am, the time of the first impact. Ron Gilmour, founder of Hangin’ with the Heroes, led the solemn gathering. “Four planes, 19 terrorists, forever changed the world as we know it,” Gilmour said. “On that day 2,996 people died, 411 of them were emergency workers.” Gilmour stressed the need to “never forget.”
“We also have this opportunity to give thanks for the first responders we have. I shudder to think of a society without our first responders. When you think for just a moment of placing that 911 call because an armed robber has attacked you and your family and no one came. Or with your home ablaze, and no one responding. Or you lay dying and no EMTs came to save you.
“When everyone else turns to run away from a horrible act, these men and women run towards it. They do that for you and I and it means something.”
Prayers were also given by Pastor Paul Gateman from Zion Lutheran Church in Ferndale. Attendees then gathered at the Fire Station to enjoy homemade snacks, brought by Cindy Harris. Members of the Ferndale Police and Fire Departments were there to meet the public, as were several city staffers and council person Dan Martin. Neighborhood children played together in front of the station, as the grown-ups chatted inside, grateful for their freedom and their community.