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Dundalk Gathers to Remember, Reflect on Sept. 11

A crowd of several hundred people gathered in Dundalk's Heritage Park for the community's Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony.

Eleven years have softened some of the edges of the raw images of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on American soil.

But remembering that day, and the lives lost on what is perhaps one of the darkest days in American history, still causes people to brush away tears and choke up while talking about their memories.

It is that very need to continue healing and continue to share fellowship that inspires Dundalk community leaders to hold an annual Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony.

This year's event was Tuesday night at Heritage Park.

Sponsored by the Dundalk Heritage Parade Committee, the event uses music, prayer and reflection to pay respects to those who lost their lives, to honor those who stepped forward to help that day, and to thank those who have served the country in the war on terrorism since then.

The Rev. Cameron Giovanelli, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, said these are not the times to be removing God from the Constitution, public schools and our lives.

"Father, I pray that you are with our men and women serving on foreign soil," he said. "And I pray that you are with the families of those that lost their lives on this day 11 years ago."

Giovanelli said America is a nation that should say, "In God we still trust."

Barney Wilson, former campus administrator of the Community College of Baltimore County, Dundalk campus, told the crowd that, since he is an educator, he would share some facts about the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Of the approximately 3,000 people who died that day, hundreds of them were first responders: 343 were firefighters, 23 were police officers and 37 were New York Port Authority police officers, Wilson said.

The audience collectively gasped when he said one firefighter died when a person high up in one of the World Trade Center towers decided jumping was a better alternative to staying put.

The person landed on the firefighter, killing him.

Wilson recalled Sept. 11, 2001, from four different perspectives: his own, that of his then 10-year-old daughter, Pentagon survivor Don Dobson, and New York firefighter Armando Reno, who was buried in collapsing rubble and rescued by his colleagues.

For all, the day started out as a normal day like any other, and ended like no other.

Now a Baltimore City high school principal, Wilson left the crowd with some questions to reflect upon, issuing what was almost a homework assignment.

"What do you take for granted?" Wilson asked. "Are you on solid ground? Is your life in order? Who have you told recently that you love them?"

Reminding all that nothing beyond this moment is ever guaranteed to anyone, Wilson urged people to not take anything for granted, embrace loved ones and keep priorities straight.

A night of musical performances by Lori Rabuck, Malvilyn and Calvin Statham and the Calvary Baptist Church choir ended with the crowd singing "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America."

With a banner that says "Dundalk will never forget 9-11-01" serving as a backdrop, candles were extinguished and folks filed out of Heritage Park as Korean War veteran Ray Glock played "Taps."

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