Friday, August 13, 2010
9/11 ceremony recalls many lost
The Rutland (Vermont) Herald
By PATRICK McARDLE STAFF WRITER - Published: September 12, 2009
BENNINGTON – On the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an Afghani exchange student released a dove in Bennington in memory of a member of his hosts' family, who died in New York City when the plane he was on crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
Mohibullah Amin, whose father is Gov. Roohul Amin of the Farah province in Afghanistan, was surrounded by the late Peter Goodrich's parents, brother and sister-in-law when he released the bird, part of Vermont's contribution to a national and international tribute that saw the release of thousands of doves around noon Friday.
Goodrich and the Rev. Francis Grogan, known locally as Father Frank, were both passengers on United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed.
Friday's tribute brought together the Bennington family, friends and colleagues of Goodrich, Grogan and Jennifer and Kenneth Lewis, married flight attendants on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
The Rev. James Preskenis, pastor of Sacred Heart parish and school, where Grogan had been stationed for many years, asked those at the ceremony to also remember David and Lynn Angell, who were on American Airlines Flight 11 when it hit the north tower. David's brother is Kenneth Angell, bishop emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
Sally Goodrich said Tuesday's memorial service was "wonderful for me because I grew up in Bennington."
"I can't imagine a more meaningful context. I have no desire to be in New York. This is where life continues and these are the people who have sustained us in all that we have done that allowed us to go on," she said.
Friday's ceremony was hosted at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington by state Rep. Mary Morrissey, a Bennington Republican.
"The sad and tragic events of 9/11 brought all of us here today to honor and remember those we lost that day," she said.
Local attorney Donald Goodrich said he remembered driving slowly down a long line of cars on a candle-illuminated Main Street in Bennington eight years ago.
"(I) recall in the fog of my thinking that night how remarkable it was that so many people from so many different walks of life were there, by their presence alone showing solidarity, something transcending their differences that united them and them with me and with my family, even though I knew few, if any, of them," he said.
Goodrich said whatever it was that brought people together in that way may be the thing that inspires people to serve in the armed forces, police and volunteer fire departments, and asked the audience to remember those who died serving America in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An outpouring of "selfless kindness" from people, many of them strangers, allowed the Goodrich family "to look into the future with hope, something that immediately after 9/11, I thought I, at least, would never do again," Goodrich said.
Preskenis remembered Grogan as a "proud veteran of World War II Navy duty and who walked the streets of Bennington and prayed at Sacred Heart church and school and enjoyed Vermont ways in life" for more than 12 years.
"Oh how we miss you, Father Frank," he said.
The ceremony included representatives from the Bennington Police Department, the Pownal Rescue Squad and North Bennington Fire Department, among other first responders in Bennington County.
Bennington Police Chief Richard Gauthier said he wanted the families who lost someone on Sept. 11 to know how important they were to emergency responders.
"I've watched them cope with the most horrific thing that can happen to them with dignity and quiet resolve and in many instances turn personal tragedy into something that serves the greater good. They may not know but they serve as inspiration to the first responder community to help us maintain our drive to serve and protect. I'm here to tell them that they do this but they're always on our minds inspiring us to continually improve," he said.
William Hurley, a member of the federal mortuary response team that responded to the terrorist attacks in 2001, was at "ground zero" by Sept. 13.
"The impact that being at the center of 16 acres of devastated destruction in southern Manhattan leaves one with memories that remain with you for the rest of your life. … I recall the overwhelming response from everyday citizens … I remember both laughing and crying with the fire marshal from NYPD at 3 a.m. one morning over coffee. This was a guy who had vacationed in the Bennington area for several years and spent an hour telling me stories of individual firefighters who he knew personally that had lost their lives that day," he said.
Jennifer Lewis' mother Ruth Gore did not speak publicly Friday but Lewis' family released one of the doves along with Amin, Preskenis and students from the Sacred Heart school in Bennington.