9/11 Memorial Service Held Tuesday at Pearson Park
Retired Kinston Fire and Rescue Captain David Ricke speaks at Tuesday’s 9/11 Memorial Service held at Pearson Park. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
As Hurricane Florence inches closer to Lenoir County, time was taken Tuesday to remember an American tragedy.
A 9/11 Memorial Service was held Tuesday at Pearson Park on the 17th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks with more than 6,000 injuries, with most victims coming from the World Trade Center buildings.
Victor Kosinski, Post Commander of AMVETS Post No. 1111, said it was important to reflect upon a devastating moment in history while preparing for the impending storm.
“Hurricane or not, we have to remember what happened in the past with hopes that history won’t repeat itself,” Kosinski said. “We wanted to make the community aware of the tragic occurrence and hopefully it will be the only time something like this happens here. Time will tell, but we appreciate everyone who come out to the ceremony.”
Lenoir County Commissioner Preston Harris said he shared a personal connection with those who had lost loved ones in the aftermath.
“My brother was in the (South) tower, working with the Department of Social Services in New York,” Harris said. “He lived through the initial impact, but died the next year because of after effects. He never recovered mentally as his health declined.”
“During the time, I was a classroom teacher and they showed the events on television,” Harris went on to say. “When we were alerted the first tower had been hit, we thought a commuter plane had gone off track. We had no reason to believe it was a terrorist attack, but when we witnessed the second plane go through the tower and saw everything unfold, it was pieced together.”
David Ricke, a retired Kinston Fire and Rescue captain who served from 1987 through 2012, said first responders have played a pivotal role in ensuring safety and helping others. Of those killed in the 9/11 attack, 412 emergency workers were casualties, including 343 firefighters.
“First responders are the backbone of most communities,” Ricke said. “It’s hard to see a committee without law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics, as it would be tough for the community to stay safe. For example, in 1895 Kinston didn’t have a fire department and it nearly burned to the ground. We’re thankful for our first responders here and I couldn’t picture a situation during Hurricane Florence without the brave men and women who are there for us.”