‘To honor and remember’: Cherry Hill Township reflects on 9/11

Township reflects on 9/11 anniversary with several groups

 

Police officers, firefighters and local officials gathered at the Cherry Hill Fire Department headquarters on 9/11 to reflect on the 21st anniversary of that day, when hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and crashed into a Pennsylvania field.

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A commemorative wreath was placed in front of the township 9/11 memorial that resembles the twin towers and features a piece of the rubble from that day.

Cherry Hill Fire Commissioner Sara Lipsett began the ceremony by reflecting on the destruction that took place that day more than two decades ago.

“We gather today for this 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, 2001, to honor and remember all the first responders, firefighters, police officers, civilian members and their families who were lost that day and throughout the war on terror,” she said.

“In less than two hours, 2,977 innocent people lost their lives and our country changed forever.”

“These momentous times in our lives that are so tragic – we don’t want to have to live through these events, but forever they will be ingrained,” noted Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt. “It will be our responsibility to share our grief and our horror to the people who come in our future, so it doesn’t repeat itself.”

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 have had unexpected impacts on the community at large, including within the fire department. 

“Shortly after 9/11, a need was recognized that there was a lack of ability to respond to large structural collapse like that and terrorist events,” said Fire Chief Chris Callan. “We never really saw the police and fire department responding to those types of events.”

Both departments provided training for structural collapse technicians. 

“In our training and in our day-to-day operations, we’re always sensitive to the fact that there could be another terrorist attack of large scale,” Callan added.

When asked what he would say to those who were not alive to witness 9/11, the chief reflected on how the attacks brought the country together.

“All different aspects of people and diversity and opinions came together as one,” he explained. “ … We all cared about each other, we all loved each other, we all wanted each other to be safe. We all provided each other a level of comfort because of the unknown, and I think we’re missing a little bit of that.

“America can get back to that.”

Other township organizations also recognized the somber day. The Jewish War Veterans, South Jersey Men’s Club and the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey made sure almost 3,000 miniature flags were placed outside the Jewish Community Center along Springdale and Kresson roads.

On the other side of town, the Garden State Rotary Club held its inaugural Flags for Heroes event to celebrate the lives of heroes big and small. Speakers included Mayor Susan Shin Angulo, Brigadier Gen. Robert Dutko Sr. and Police Chief Robert Kempf. Seventy full-size flags were flown at the Garden State Rotary Club complex. 

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