Boonsboro parade celebrates heroism of first responders

September 12, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

BOONSBORO -- For the seventh year in a row, residents lined Boonsboro's Main Street on Thursday evening to applaud, wave and salute as local fire, rescue, police and military members paraded by on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"This is our holiday," explained Pat Warner, a firefighter and EMT with First Hose Co. of Boonsboro. "This is the day we mourn our dead."

This year's parade included 40 pieces of equipment from 21 fire, rescue and police departments from around the region, Boonsboro fire company spokeswoman Jerri D'Angelo said. Companies came from as far as New Midway in Frederick County, Warner said. Companies have traveled farther to participate in previous years, but high gas prices prevented some from making the trip this year, he said.

The parade also featured floats, dancers and a costumed Dalmatian mascot named Sparky.

The music was upbeat and the mood was celebratory, but Warner said he hoped spectators would also find time for reflection as the whirling red-and-blue lights passed by.


"Know that people gave their lives for total strangers," Warner said of rescue efforts, both in the aftermath of Sept. 11 and on a daily basis in communities nationwide.

"When everyone else is running out of the house, we're running in," Warner said, adding that the satisfaction of helping others makes the risk worthwhile for him.

"You've got to care to want to do this job," he said.

Main Street resident John Sigillito, 78, got into the spirit with a star-spangled Uncle Sam hat, and he clapped along with the music as the young baton twirlers marched past.

"The memorial services are very good, but I think this is good too, to see all of the fire and rescue engines and all the people who really, really were involved in the 9/11 efforts," Sigillito said.

He and his wife, Alice Sigillito, 79, a former majorette, said they especially enjoyed the enthusiasm of the children who marched in the parade.

"This is a Norman Rockwell picture," John Sigillito said.

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