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Remembrance in the Park was a tribute to lost lives

Wreath ceremoniously laid at the Emergency Services Tribute Garden, located at one corner of Hagerstown's City Park

September 10, 2013|BY KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com
  • Hagerstown Fire Department Honor Guard member Ed Shindle salutes during the national anthem Tuesday at Remembrance in the Park.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Bells tolled and bugles sounded at Hagerstown City Park Tuesday evening as the community paused to remember emergency personnel and those in the armed forces who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Some stopped to reminisce in front of the 9/11 memorial at the park about the day 12 years ago, a beautiful late summer day not unlike Tuesday, when two planes flew into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon was attacked, and passengers fought with hijackers as they brought down an airliner near Shanksville, Pa.

Remembrance in the Park was a tribute to lost lives, at war and at home, to terrorist attacks and other emergencies.

“Tonight we pay tribute to all those who lost their lives before, on and after Sept. 11, 2001. We pay tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice while keeping our community safe,” said Kevin Lewis, director of Washington County Emergency Services. “We recognize all of our first responders who continue to reaffirm their dedication to serve, and to recognize the many dedicated citizen volunteers that made not only our county but our country stronger each and every day.”

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A wreath that read “Sept. 11, 2001. Never Forgotten” was ceremoniously laid at the 9/11 memorial — a metal beam that once was part of the World Trade Center — at the Emergency Services Tribute Garden, located at one corner of City Park.

“The first responders who ran into buildings that others were running out of to protect and save someone else’s dream. We honor their sacrifice today by remembering them,” Tim Fisher, a chaplain at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, told the scores of people who attended the event. “ We honor their dreams today by continuing to dream and continuing to rebuild.”

Don Sneckenberger, a veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960, said he was in a very solemn mood.

“Nice to see everyone in uniform. Very proper I think,” he said.

Herman Niedzielski, a Leitersburg resident who is a member of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service — radio amateurs who provide communication during emergencies — said he was pleased with the turnout.
“It is rewarding to see the number of people who are honored and the number of people who are here to honor them,” he said, clutching an American flag as he spoke.

Gerard Kendle, a Hagerstown police officer who was a community volunteer of the year for 2012, was among those honored with a name-inscribed brick on the park’s “Walk of Honor.”

Kendle, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served in Bosnia and Iraq, said that as he looked at the 9/11 memorial, he thought about the courage displayed by ordinary citizens on that fateful day.

“That particular day and that particular time, we became one nation. We weren’t divided by politics, we weren’t divided by color, we weren’t divided by race,” Kendle said.

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