9/11 remembered in sombre ceremony

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Friday morning, Rome city officials converged on the city’s Police and Firemen’s Memorial Park across from the Central Fire Station on Black River Boulevard for a 9/11 memorial service.

This year, because of COVID-19, the solemn ceremony was closed to the public, which was not unusual for this year as ceremonies were altered elsewhere across the state and country for public health safety reasons.

In example, the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks will be marked in New York City by double beams of light that evoke the fallen twin towers. The memorial event was nearly canceled in the name of virus safety, until an uproar sparked a change of heart. The Fire Department there has cited the virus in urging members to stay away from any observances of the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, among them almost 350 firefighters. Rome’s ceremony was conducted by Rome’s fire and police departments along with city officials.

In remembering the terrorist attacks 19 years ago, Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo said the event, “took away our spirit, but it will never take away our resolve. ... We will always remember.”

Izzo called on younger first responders in the departments - who might be too young to clearly remember that day - to listen to memories and lessons learned from their elders. In closing, as the country continues to face different challenges, she closed, “Pray to God for America... God bless all of us.”

Also as part of the ceremony, plaques to be placed on the memorial wall in the park were dedicated in honor of former police Patrolman Edward Wojdyla, who served from 1953 to 1978; and fire Lieutenant Timothy Peterpaul who served from 1987 to 2013. A video of the ceremony is expected to be posted on the city’s Facebook page, according to a city spokesperson.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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