Niagara Gazette — Twelve years ago, a nation mourned.
Yet, as Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto stepped to the podium outside the Royal Avenue Firehouse to commemorate the 12th year since the terrorist attacks which changed America Wednesday, a bright, morning sun broke through the clouds and illuminated him.
The contradiction between the somber mood of those in attendance and the warm, summer-like atmosphere radiating in Niagara Falls was striking. Gathered at the city fire department's memorial to the fallen first responders from that fateful 2001 morning and the gruesome attacks against the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., DalPorto, Mayor Paul Dyster, Fire Chief Thomas Colangelo and state Assemblyman John Ceretto gathered to recognize the sacrifices of those who rushed into the New York City twin towers as the buildings were collapsing above their heads.
"On Sept. 11, 2001, the world witnessed the worst of what mankind has to offer," DalPorto said. "But also on that day, it witnessed the best of what mankind has to offer. Firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders that ran into those towers on that day that others were running out, offered the best of what mankind has to offer.
"Although the world has never seen on such a large scale what innocent victims subjected to such acts, the reality is firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders run into that same danger every day to save lives," the police chief said, "We need to take a moment to remember the (responders) who paid the ultimate sacrifice to their community and their country that day. These acts are underscored with the courage and bravery every ... emergency responder has given every day above and beyond the call of duty."
DalPorto also recognized the 2 million Americans who have answered the call to arms and joined the fight during war time over the past 12 years, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.