Marblehead Fire Chief Jason Gilliland gave the following speech during Marblehead’s 9/11 ceremony on Memorial Park on Sept. 11, 2022.
Good morning, on behalf of the Marblehead Police and Fire Department, I welcome and thank all of you for joining us this morning to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
On this National Day of Remembrance, we join communities all across the nation, to honor those lives that were taken too soon. We honor the firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency workers, who gave their lives in an effort to save the lives of others on that fateful September morning; as well as the men and woman of the Armed Forces who have given their lives in the service and defense of our country, against the war on terror.
Two decades have passed since the cowardly terrorist attacks on the United States, by 19 Al-Qaida hijackers, but even so, time cannot separate us from the horrors of that day, from our shock, our grief, our compassion for the children, the spouses, and the families and friends of those who perished. It is as equally important to recognize, the more than 2000 first responders who have succumbed to illnesses as a result of working in the hazardous conditions during the recovery operation at ground zero, over the 21 years since 911.
Let us now pause to reflect and renew our commitment to never forget the most tragic day in American history.
Today we gather once again to pay tribute to the victims, the 2,977 people who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in rural Pennsylvania. And as a community, our collective thoughts and prayers are with the Marblehead families of Frederick Rimmele, and William Weems, who were passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 175, as well as Erik Hans Isbrandtsen, a Marblehead native, who was working on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center at the time of the attack.
In 2006, the Town dedicated a monument to honor the memory of the Marblehead residents killed on 911, also inscribed on the monument are the names of Eve local service members, Army Staff Sergeant Christopher N. Piper and Marine Corps Second Lieutenant Christopher B. Shay, who gave their lives fighting the War on Terror. Across the bottom of the monument is the phrase “never forget.”
So let us resolve, once again, to never forget. To never forget those who were murdered by terrorists. Never forget those who rushed to save lives and gave theirs in exchange. Never forget the sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters, and the mothers and fathers, who gave their tomorrows for our todays. Honor them today and forever.
Thank you once again for attending and God Bless the United States.