ESSEX — A solemn crowd gathered in front of the newly remodeled 9/11 memorial located outside of the Essex Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. In a period of reflection and mourning, the Honor Guard struck a bell in the memorial space four times in a row, invoking a tradition that originated in the fire service for firefighters who died in the line of duty.
The Essex company had acquired two pieces of steel from the new owner of the property of the former fire station in Middleborough and moved them to the Sussex Road location for restoration and rededication of the memorial on this year’s 9/11 anniversary.
“Moving this memorial was no minor task,” Essex company president Zach Ulbig said during the ceremony. “We battled multiple obstacles, and without our volunteer members, this would not have been possible.”
After chronicling the events of that fateful day, Ulbig asked everyone, including local government leaders in attendance, to remember where they were as those events unfolded. This was in an effort, he said, to keep the promise that America made to ‘never forget’ the lives lost and the families that continue to recover.
“This is a time to reflect, never forget and never compromise… a time to love your country evermore and serve it in the best way that you can,” Sen. Johnny Ray Salling said at the ceremony. “Give back to your neighbor and those you call your enemy. I believe that we, as Americans, can be the example to change the world, by the grace of our loving, merciful and Almighty God.”
National unity, through patriotism, according to Del. Ric Metzgar, who also spoke, were the words that rang in his head as he reflected on 9/11, and that was a theme of the remarks given by emcee Karl Kornith, a 49-year Essex company member.
“I wonder what lesson this cowardly deed wanted to teach us by murdering 3,000 innocent people of all races, religions and nationalities,” Kornith said. “Did you want to make us fear you? You strengthened our resolve. Did you want to tear us apart? You brought us together.”
Kornith added that, for a while after 9/11, military recruiting offices were filled with people wishing to enlist, as were blood banks with people wishing to donate.
“America prevailed and came together, as it always has, when as a country, it has needed to overcome adversity,” he said.
Rick Warnick, who designed the first iteration of the memorial in 2014 in Middleborough, said that, although he feels some sorrow that the bricks he placed for the memorial are no longer in use, he is happy that that the community is upgrading the memorial to continue to remember that day.
“This means more than what it was initially at Middleborough,” he said. “It stands for what happened on that day 20 years ago and stands for a time in which we all came together, as we are coming together again 20 years later.”
He said that his original design had included flagpoles and a concrete path, as the current one does, but he was limited by time and financial constraints. This, he said, was a “more perfect version” of what he had wanted to do.
“To see this memorial and the work that has gone into it, and to see that this is just the strongest, proudest, most patriotic community, it is a true honor in my life to represent you in local government, Baltimore County Council member Todd Crandell said.
The companies that helped make this memorial possible were: Baltimore Recycling Center, Williams Crane service, Schuster Concrete, Dabco Construction, Ernest Maier Inc., Joe & Dennis Weir, Access Metals, Carter Cat Reman, Home Depot- Rosedale, Servpro Perryhall Essex