KINGSTON–Mayor Steve Noble faced an unusual challenge on Monday morning as he was getting his 6-year-old son ready for school.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Dad, why are you all dressed up? You don’t have to wear a tie.’
“I told him, ‘I’m going to honor people who were lost. In New York City, many years ago when I was much younger, there were very bad people who tried to hurt us.'”
Noble shared the story with those who had gathered early on Monday at Firemen’s Park to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“That day we lost a lot of people,” he said. “We lost friends, we lost family, we lost many of the men and women who serve every day.”
About 100 attended the annual event at the busy Washington Avenue intersection. Members of the Kingston Fire Department led the somber ceremony that included music by Jolie Dunham and the Ulster County Ancient Order of Hibernians Pipe and Drum Band.
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein noted how Monday’s weather conditions mirrored those on the day that 2,996 people were killed in four separate attacks by Islamic terrorists.
“In many ways, it seems like yesterday, and we all recognize this weather–the beautiful blue sky as we saw planes crash into buildings and do things that we never thought were possible,” he said.
“I think it’s important to never lose sight…of how frightened and angry that we all were on that fateful day. There’s no question that we saw on that day the height of human depravity.”
The county executive also recalled the “heroism laid bare for all of us to see.”
“(There were) acts too numerous to mention, whether it was our first responders or everyday citizens stepping forward.”
Hein’s son was 2 years old when America was attacked 16 years ago and now is a freshman in college.
He said those families who lost loved ones that day will miss out on experiences like watching their children grow up.
“I think of many people all across this nation, especially in the Northeast, who aren’t able to go to high school graduations, aren’t able to dance that first dance with their daughter at her wedding and aren’t able to fully embrace the love and joy of their spouse long into their retirement.”
Similar reflections were shared at the town of Ulster’s 9/11 ceremony at Robert Post Park.
Ulster County Clerk Nina Postupack stressed the need to mark the day no matter how many years pass.
“Time heals all wounds…but 9/11 changed America, and that’s why we must never forget,” she said.
“Americans died that day doing what they did each day–going to work, traveling on planes, reporting to the fire house.
“They did not wake up that day expecting to die, and for them, we must never forget. The survivors who kissed their spouse goodbye that morning, hugged their mom or dad before going to school or called their son or daughter to say good morning, never realized that it would be the last kiss, hug or call that they would ever make with their loved ones.”