Town celebrates first responders and remembers 9/11

FIRST RESPONDERS DAY PARTICIPANTS, from left, Town Administrator Rob Dolan, Select Board Chairman Joe Connell, Ave Maria Parish Rev. Paul Ritt, Select Board member Dick Dalton, Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Glenn Davis, Police Chief Nick Secatore and Boston Bruins National Anthem singer Todd Angilly salute the American flag during Monday’s ceremony. (Dan Tomasello Photo)



LYNNFIELD — One hundred residents came together to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and recognize the community’s first responders during the First Responders Day ceremony on Monday.

Town Administrator Rob Dolan served as the master of ceremonies for First Responders Day once again. He thanked residents, local officials and first responders for attending the ceremony.

“This ceremony has become an important tradition in the town of Lynnfield,” said Dolan. “We are here not only to remember 9/11, but we are also here most importantly to honor the dedication, the bravery and the commitment that our first responders have to the people of Lynnfield.”

Dolan recalled that retired Boston Bruins left wing Garnet “Ace” Bailey, who lived on Ivanhoe Drive, was aboard United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Bailey was 53-years-old when he died, and left behind his wife Kathy and son Todd.

“Ace was a longtime resident who contributed so much,” said Dolan. 

Lynnfield native Sean Patrick Lynch also passed away in the World Trade Center at the age of 34. Lynch had just been promoted to senior vice president of equity trading at Cantor Fitzgerald, and passed away along with 657 of his colleagues.

Dolan noted that 2,977 people lost their lives during the terrorist attacks, but said the death toll continues to rise. He noted that many first responders and New Yorkers were diagnosed with 9/11-related illnesses, including cancer. Sept. 11 first responder advocate John Feal told “CBS News” last week that over 27,000 people have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer, and over 5,000 people died from those illnesses.

“People developed cancers, different types of breathing issues and other undiagnosed conditions that were the result of 9/11,” said Dolan. “If anything positive happened that day, it allowed the citizens of not only New York, but across the country to understand the dangers of day-to-day work of police officers and firefighters, but how its important to protect them from chemicals and carcinogens.”

Dolan thanked the community for supporting the $63.5 million public safety buildings and Town Hall project last year. He said the three new stations will ensure the town’s first responders are properly protected from hazardous materials that can cause health problems.

“The community overwhelmingly responded to support them,” said Dolan. “Thank you to the people of Lynnfield. We certainly appreciate it.”

LYNNFIELD FIREFIGHTERS salute the American flag during the “First Responders Day” ceremony on Monday. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

After Ave Maria Parish Rev. Paul Ritt gave the innovation, Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Glenn Davis led Lynnfield firefighters’ during the “ringing of the bell” portion of the ceremony.

“The tolling of the bell five times with four repetitions is how the New York City Fire Department announces the line of duty death of a firefighter,” said Davis.

The 100 attendees held a moment of silence in honor of the close to 3,000 people who died on 9/11. Davis also read the “Firefighter’s Prayer” in honor of the 343 New York City firefighters and paramedics who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Oh God, we remember before you this day our brothers and sisters lost on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Davis. “We thank you for their example of courage and sacrifice. In your boundless compassion, console their families, friends, co-workers and all whom they lost.”

After a group of Girl Scouts recited “The Pledge of Allegiance,” Boston Bruins singer Todd Angilly gave a moving rendition of “The National Anthem.” He was given a round of applause.

“Incredible Todd,” said Dolan.

Police Chief Nick Secatore said it was an honor to speak at First Responders Day once again.

“I was asked to speak by the event’s organizers, and I said I was more than happy to,” said Secatore. “They said, ‘Thank you.’ They thanked me for agreeing to speak at an event that honors first responders. It’s incredible. The town of Lynnfield is a wonderful, wonderful place to work. The police officers and firefighters are very lucky and very fortunate to work in an environment like this, and the people we work for. I want to say thank you to them, the event organizers and everyone who came.”

Secatore said First Responders Day is an opportunity for the community to come together to honor the people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 as well as “Never Forget what happened.”

“The terrorist attacks were horrific,” said Secatore. “But through the horror, it brought our country together. It solidified American beliefs and our resolve.”

Secatore said First Responders Day also serves as a way for the community to recognize the town’s first responders and their commitment to the community.

“The residents are always understanding of our needs,” said Secatore. “That is evidenced by the approval of building new facilities for first responders. Working in this environment can be taken for granted, but it is not by anyone on the Police Department and I am sure that is also true for the Fire Department. We are very grateful and very thankful.”

Secatore encouraged First Responder Day’s attendees to “please remember those who lost their lives” on 9/11.

After Secatore concluded his remarks, the ceremony’s attendees gave him a round of applause.

Davis said, “The United States of America suffered a severe blow when we were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.”

“So many years after our nation was attacked, the events may be fading in the minds of many Americans,” said Davis. “But for those of us who spend our lives in the service of others — be it in the fire service, law enforcement, emergency medical services or the military — the memories of those terrorist attacks that took so many lives remains fresh. We all have our own memories of that day and its aftermath. The scope of the devastation at Ground Zero, the sense of vulnerability and wondering if other attacks were planned or about to happen.”

Davis recalled that Lynnfield children as well as some local first responders were born after 9/11.

“Millions of young people have no memories of that day,” said Davis. “It is my sincere hope that our children and grandchildren never have to experience what we did on that day, and they never have to face the tragedy, the shock, the uncertainty and the fear that we did.”

Davis said it’s important for children and young people to learn about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“We tell them to remember,” said Davis. “We cannot relive that day forever, but to forget it would be a tragedy on its own. Remember the courage and bravery of the first responders who rushed to help their fellow citizens and perished. Remember the 343 New York City firefighters and paramedics, the 23 New York police officers and the 37 Port Authority police officers. If we ever forget, we are allowing the almost 3,000 people who died that day to have perished in vain. They were rich and poor, old and young, white, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, atheist and agnostic. They were Americans. They were representative of who we are as a nation. They were mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives. They were people who met their end in a manner that cannot be changed, but God willing prevented in the future.”

In closing, Davis said the town’s firefighters will continue “to

be there whenever Lynnfield residents call us.”

“We will always remember the ultimate sacrifices that were made on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Davis.   

After Davis concluded his remarks, he was given a round of applause.    

Select Board Chairman Joe Connell said first responders serve as the “backbone of our community’s safety.”

“Our police officers, firefighters, emergency medical professionals and our dispatchers work tirelessly each day to protect us from harm,” said Connell. “Our first responders have difficult and dangerous jobs. They know the risks, and yet every day, they prepare for the challenge, load up their gear, and race out to the next emergency. This is courage, and is what makes them real heroes.”

Connell recalled that, “First responders possess a unique blend of skills, compassion and strength.”

“Their dedication and unwavering commitment are an inspiration to all of us,” said Connell. “They put their own lives on hold to save the lives of others. First responders face incredible challenges to keep our communities safe. While we honor and celebrate these heroes every day, we need to dedicate extra time to thank them for their selflessness and dedication. Their reliability, their responsiveness and their professional skill not only keep us safe, but also strengthen our community’s resilience.”

Connell recalled that he took his son, Jake, to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York last weekend.

“I told him this was similar to what my parents experienced with Pearl Harbor,” said Connell. “One of the rooms that meant the most to him contained the sound of the firefighters going up into the North Tower when the South Tower fell down. They were told to evacuate the building, and they said no because they had people to save. I was so proud that he understood what first responders do for our communities. The Select Board is privileged to pay tribute to these dedicated men and women who serve Lynnfield. Words cannot express the amount of gratitude and respect that we have for all of our first responders.”

The ceremony’s attendees gave Connell a round of applause.

After Rev. Ritt gave the closing prayer, Angilly led attendees during a performance of “God Bless America.” Attendees were then treated to a cookout.