In iconic 9/11 photo, first responders evacuate mortally wounded
NYFD chaplain Fr. Mychal Judge. (Photo: Reuters)
On Friday morning, Plainfield marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with a ceremony at City Hall (see video and photos on the city's Facebook page here).
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp presided over a ceremony which included remarks by the mayor and others, recognition of Plainfield first responders who took part in the rescue and recovery efforts on 9/11 and subsequently, and musical presentations by students from the Plainfield public schools.
In the earliests commemorations, when we are were still in shock, the ceremonies tended to be very simple, related to the specific times at which events took place, and focused on those lost in the attacks and as a result of them.
The nation was united in grief and shock at the 9/11 events.
But time moves on.
As the names of Plainfield first responders -- police officers and firefighters -- who responded that day and in the days to follow, I reflected on the fact that those day were now half a career in the past.
And schools superintendent Anna Belin Pyles underscored the fact in her remarks when she pointed out that this year's freshman class at Plainfield High School is the first that can have no firsthand memory of the day itself.
Given that terrorism and terrorist attacks have become a steady drumbeat in daily life since 9/11, it is to be expected that the focus would shift from the horror of that day to the issues facing us today.
Mayor Mapp was certainly right to focus on the role of our police and firefighters in protecting the public.
In the new post-9/11 era in which we find ourselves, they are our first line of defense as every community -- no matter how small or seemingly unimportant on the world stage -- learns to live with the new set of circumstances.
It is fitting that the focus should shift to those whose duty is to keep us safe.
-- Dan Damon [follow]