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Mayor Platt reflects on 9–11

Mayor Platt reflects on 9–11

Mayor’s message: Bernie Platt

This past Sunday, our country marked the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans on the East Coast awoke to a beautiful autumn morning not unlike any other typical day.

From Washington to New York, millions of men and women prepared for their work day. Some people — as they did every other day — filed into the World Trade Center complex. Hundreds more reported to their offices in the Pentagon. In airports, travelers boarded their flights — some headed out on business trips; some headed home to see their families. The men and women of the New York City Police and Fire departments reported for duty.

But as the sun rose that morning, an evil the likes of which we had never seen was poised to strike at the very heart of our country. And within a matter of a few hours, that business-as-usual atmosphere would be stricken from the history books, and America would be forever changed. As we now know, that morning, terrorists would hijack four American passenger jets and steer each of them toward high-profile and densely populated targets in New York and Washington. The planes would tear through tons of steel, piercing our nation’s capital and our country’s financial epicenter — in the process, killing thousands of innocent men and women, and forever transforming our country’s landscape.

On that morning, we witnessed evil on a scale we had, until that day, been unable to fathom. A kind of evil we hope and pray we will never endure again.

Nearly 3,000 people perished, including hundreds of New York’s emergency responders — whose only instinct was to run into those burning towers and rescue as many people as possible, until the heat and flames finally became too much, and the buildings crumbled.

Over the past six months, the Cherry Hill Fire Department — in cooperation with my office and the Cherry Hill Police Department — planned and built a beautiful memorial courtyard outside the Fire Administration Building, at 1100 Marlkress Road. At its center are two granite towers, flanking a piece of steel from the World Trade Center’s north tower.

This past Sunday, we officially dedicated the site in memory of the innocent men and women whose lives were cut short so suddenly, and so violently. It is my hope that the memorial will serve as a place of quite remembrance and reflection for our residents for many years to come.

The memorial was designed by a Cherry Hill firefighter, and its construction was a true labor of love by the dozens of off-duty firefighters, police officers and EMTs who donated their time and energy to the cause. Its construction was made possible by donations from a number of generous donors in the community.

If you were unable to make it to Sunday’s dedication, I would encourage you to stop by the site — whether it’s today, this month, or at some point in the future — and just take a few minutes to reflect on its meaning. And as we look back on the events of Sept. 11, let us not view them only in sorrow — let us remember that, because of the events of this day, our nation is stronger. We are rebuilding, and while we must never forget, we must forge ahead to honor the legacy of those who gave their lives on that day.

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