First responders gather at the Peace Arch to remember 9/11’s fallen

New York City tragedy ‘brought out the best in human spirit’

First responders from both sides of the border gathered this morning at Peace Arch Park to honour those who gave their lives to help others during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and those who, 16 years later, continue to serve and protect, both in their own backyard, and around the world.

Police, firefighters, paramedics, politicians and civilians converged on the international border between South Surrey, B.C. and Blaine, Wash., to remember a tragedy that both devastated and strengthened.

“On Sept. 11, my department lost 23 members. Matt’s lost 343,” New York Police Department Sgt. Kevin Lynch told the crowd, referring also to the enormous impact the attacks – which killed nearly 3,000 that day – had on the city’s fire department, which was represented Monday by Matthew Zimpfer.

“Think about those numbers for a minute, because a number’s just a number until you think about the fact that each one of those people had a family that they cared about, had people they loved and people who loved them.

“But they did what first responders always do, and that’s run to whoever needs help.”

One after another, speakers stood, acknowledging the “heartbreaking and devastating acts of violence” of that day, but returning always to give thanks and acknowledge the partnerships and resolve that strengthened in the wake of the tragedy.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Blaine area port Director Kenneth Williams posed, and answered, the question, “are we truly safer?”

“I can stand here with confidence and say yes,” Williams said, citing improvements in security measures in the years since 9/11, and ones to come.

“For those who wish to do us harm, we are sending a clear message.”

Vancouver Police Department Supt. Mike Porteous said that while the border may divide the U.S. and Canada, “we are human beings and fellow first responders, brothers and sisters.”

“Together we stand in the face of tragedy, remembering our fallen heroes and carrying on in their names. We will remember,” Porteous said.

South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts, representing Canada in the ceremony, echoed the call to “always remember” those who died.

U.S. Consul General Katherine Dhanani said the day was to remember “those brave men and women who gave everything for strangers they never knew simply because it was in them to respond as heroes.”

Lynch told the crowd that he doesn’t feel like a hero for his actions on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I feel like a person who did my job, and I think that’s what every first responder would mention when asked why they do it,” he said.

“It was a horrible day for us, as a city, as a nation and as a world, but in the days, and the weeks, months and the years that have followed, it’s brought out the best in the human spirit.”

 

The U.S. colour guard and other first responders at Peace Arch Park Monday, where a memorial was held to honour those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Falkland artist favours, fights for fish

Lottie Kozak does all kinds of art; one of her favourite subjects, fish, is dwindling

The Westbank First Nation to be a fixture of Westside Daze

This Canada Day long weekend mark your calendars

Updated: Kelowna cops investigate armed robbery at city centre business

Robbery sparks late afternoon manhunt by armed police officers with guns drawn

Reducing the risk of wildfire in Kelowna

New city plan has 47 recommendations to cut down on the risk of wildfire

Kelowna mayor pays emotional tribute to late senior city manager

Colin Basran chokes up remembering city corporate and protective services director Rob Mayne Monday

Updated: Kelowna cops investigate armed robbery at city centre business

Robbery sparks late afternoon manhunt by armed police officers with guns drawn

UPDATED: Oliver wildfire extinguished, B.C. Wildfire mopping up

6-ha. brush fire contained before it could spread farther

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Vernon cold case murder suspect bail hearing Tuesday

Paramjit Singh Bogarh will appear in Vernon Law Courts at 10 a.m. June 19

Elvis lives again in Penticton

Elvis Festival back this weekend for 17th year

Athletics, Parsons stay hot in four-game sweep

Okanagan takes two PBL doubleheaders from UBC Thunder at Elks Stadium

Tigers looking to lock up title

Face Flames tonight in Penticton

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Most Read