Owego, Campville, Southside and Apalachin, and all other Tioga County Fire, Emergency and Police personnel will pay reverence and remembrance to the 9/11 victims in their 18th annual ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 11, starting at 8:46 a.m. at the Town of Owego 9/11 Memorial in the Hickories Park.
Owego Fire Police Lieutenant and 9/11 Ceremony Coordinator John Hitchings has extended an invitation to all. Owego Fire Department Chief Jim Morris reminds all to Never Forget the 9/11 Victims of Global Terrorism. Honor the bravest of the Fire and Emergency Service and Police Service and make sure all lost in the 9/11 attacks are not forgotten.
New York City lost 341 firemen, two paramedics, and 23 police officers; Port Authority lost 37 and eight additional EMTs from private EMT units, and 2,581 civilians including a former Town of Owego resident.
Tioga County responded to 9/11 with EMTs, firefighters and police officers to fill spots left by their fellow emergency service teams, firemen and police officers. Past OFD Chief, Ken Easton, recalled the support of the folks from New York City to include when their Fire and EMS responded to Owego to help with the September 2011 flooding.
Especially remembered is former Town of Owego Resident Derek James Statkevicus, son of Joseph and Nancy Statkevicus, and formerly of Apalachin. He was a Vestal High School graduate and Eagle Scout with Apalachin Troop 43.
Derek was employed by KBW Bank and was on the 86th floor of the World Trade Center, South Tower. Dean Morgan will present a Memorial tribute to Derek.
The Master of Ceremonies is Jim Raftis, and speakers include Town of Owego Supervisor Donald Castellucci and New York State’s 52nd District Senator, Fred Akshar.
Entering the Hickories Park, guests will see a large American flag displayed on the Campville aerial ladder truck.
New York State Police Investigator Jeremiah Allen will play the bagpipes and conclude the ceremony with Amazing Grace.
The Color Guard of the Glenn A. Warner Post 1371 Veterans of Foreign Wars will lower the American flag to half staff, and live taps will be played by Dean Morgan. Andrea McBride will be singing the National Anthem, and OFD Police Chaplain George Hall will deliver the invocation.
A Tolling of the Bell will signal “last alarm” for the fallen first responders.
The remembrance ceremony also honors seven from Owego who in past years gave their lives for the safety of Owego citizens; they include Owego Police Department’s Isaac Wiltsie and F. Allen Hall, Owego Fire Department’s Ray Wiltse, Winifred Knapp Sr., Richard Beck, Steven Gavin and Matthew Porcari.
Firefighters, EMS and police who responded to the World Trade Center are invited as special guests for recognition of their service and sacrifice.