LONDONDERRY — It’s been 20 years since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and area communities hosted remembrance ceremonies to make sure no one ever forgets the events of that day.
In the two decades since planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and in a rural field in western Pennsylvania, Londonderry’s first responders and community has hosted annual tributes to all who lost their lives.
On Saturday, Sept. 11, town officials, police and fire officials, residents and guests gathered at the Central Fire Station to honor the anniversary and to present thoughts and memories of the past 20 years.
Londonderry Fire Chief Darren O’Brien has spent 37 years in the Londonderry department and said it’s always been an honor to serve. He paid tribute to all the first responders who jumped into action.
“It’s not just a job, it’s a calling,” the chief said. “We must never forget this day 20 years ago when men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
O’Brien added he is blessed to be surrounded by the professionals in his department that all share a common goal to help care for others.”
“That makes it all worthwhile,” O’Brien said.
Police Chief William Hart challenged all to continue to serve, to be kind and answer the call to be better.
“That is what we remember, that is what we change and that is what we must remember,” Hart said.
At the exact times when the two planes hit the World Trade Center in New York City, a bell at the fire station tolled.
Officials also presented information on the fire station’s permanent 9/11 memorial now set in stone and flanked by florals and other tributes. A local Eagle Scout from Troop 521 made the memorial expansion his project.
A steel relic from one of the World Trade Center towers is the centerpiece. The piece arrived in Londonderry back in 2019 as part of the Tunnel to Towers project.
“It’s not just a chunk of steam,” said fire Lt. Jonathan Camire, who was part of the official escort bringing the steel relic back to Londonderry. “It’s a part of history.”
Jeannine Landry once again sang her original song and lyrics, “A Time to Pray,” she composed following the attacks in 2001.
At the end of the ceremony, police Capt. Patrick Cheetham offered “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.