SUMMIT, NJ- Friday afternoon, elected officials, local law enforcement and residents filled the First Aid Squad building in Summit where they remembered the nine Summit residents that perished on Sept.11, 2001, including EMS volunteer Ian Thompson.
Last year, a World Trade Center artifact was given to the First Aid Squad as an acknowledgement of the significant response from Squad volunteers in the hours and days following the September 11th attacks. Today, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of N.Y. and N.J. Bill Baroni dedicated the steel to the fallen residents. Also in attendance were Mayor Ellen Dickson and Captain Kari Phair and Ken Herr of the Summit First Aid Squad.
The artifact was provided in memory of Summit residents David Brady, Mark Bruce, Thomas Clark, James Connor, Kevin Crotty, Thomas Glassert, Robert Lawrence Jr., A. Todd Rancke and Clive “Ian” Thompson.
The engraving on the stone reads, “It is not how they died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.”
“We will remember where we were on Sept. 11 for the rest of our lives,” Guadagno said.
The Lt. Governor said the dedication was not about the people in the audience, but rather remembering those who perished on 9/11 and the younger generation. She brought Amanda, an 8-year- old, up front with her and said today was really about her. While she was not alive during the attacks, she is the future, Guadagno said.
People need to remember the sacrifices that the nine people from Summit made on that tragic day, Guadagno said. Hopefully, this memorial teaches kids like Amanda there are things in life worth fighting for, she added.
“That’s what today is about: we need to give some purpose to the lives that were lost,” she said.
To have the artifact delivered to Summit, Baroni had to go to federal court for permission to do so. Fortunately, it will now be in Summit forever, so the names will never be forgotten, he said.
“This squad is the right and good place for this memorial,” Baroni said.
Frist Aid Squad Volunteer John Herr spoke about the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Because of its train station, he said Summit was classified as a decontamination area and people were treated for smoke inhalation. The EMS, fire and police were instructed to wear decontamination suits, as well, Herr said.
As he got emotional, he told the audience that he helped a lady at the train station who, when she met him, she kissed the ground and said, ”My God I made it.” Two days later, the squad members were dispatched into Manhattan to help with the rescue and recovery and it was mind blowing, he said.
“I remember we got there, it was surreal,” Herr said. “Everything was grey. The only colors we saw were posters of people that were missing.”
As they left the city, they saw signs everywhere thanking the first responders saying that said they were their heroes. But, in his mind, they were just doing their job.
“Time for grieving will end, but time for remembrance never does,” he said quoting President George W. Bush.