Military veterans and first responders joined for a Sept. 11 memorial service Saturday in Nesquehoning on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The hour-long program was hosted by the Nesquehoning VFW Post and conducted in front of the post home. An enormous American flag hung between the ladders aerial trucks from the Nesquehoning and Lansford Fire Departments.
VFW Post Commander Craig Strohl was active in the military when 9/11 happened and was stationed in Japan. He said the military base was shut down after the attacks happened "and they were ready to activate us.”
He said, "This is a sad day. This is not a day to celebrate. This is a day of remorse.”
Dozens of citizens attended the program.
Former U.S. Congressman and now a gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta said, "There’s no day on the calendar that brings more emotion to Americans than Sept. 11.”
He said when the attacks occurred, he was mayor of Hazleton at the time and was preparing for a staff meeting. He said that like other Americans, "I was so confused thinking at first that it was just a misguided plane (that hit the Twin Towers). Then I realized we were under attack.”
He said the loss of life didn’t end on Sept. 11. "For 20 more years, brave Americans wanted to do justice for what happened that day.”
"The American people came together that day,” he said, noting there were no Democrats and no Republicans, no individuals separated by race. "The American flag flew on porches from coast to coast,” he said.
Dan Ziegler, chief deputy of the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, recalled the anger and shock he felt when the terrorist attacks occurred. He said, "I knew that by them (the terrorists) coming here, that we would go there, taking the fight to them and ‘win at any cost.’?”
"We are the ones who will hold the line and defend the freedoms we hold so dear,” he said.
He quoted former President George W. Bush, who addressed the nation immediately after the 9/11 attacks, saying, "This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”
Gregory Prosko, district commander of the VFW Post, said, "Twenty years ago - that’s how many years ago since our breath was stolen when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center.”
He spoke about the many acts of bravery displayed as a result of the incident and said, "America did not succumb to fear.”
Residents Tanya Erdman, Marjorie Fortin, and Davy Fortin formed the ICE Trio and sang several selections including the "Star-Spangled Banner.”
Auxiliary President Christa Kattner offered remarks.
The Rev. Robert Teklinski, the pastor of St. John’s Orthodox Church in Nesquehoning, conducted a blessing of all the emergency vehicles and the VFW post.