PEABODY — At a brief ceremony Monday morning marking the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the city came together to honor those who died that day, including two residents of the city, and the public safety personnel who continue to feel the after-effects of the tragedy.
The ceremony took place at the city’s public safety memorial, where bronze statues of a police officer and a firefighter stand on either side of a flame that burns blue and red. The memorial also pays tribute to Christine Barbuto and Janice Lasden, a pair of residents who were aboard American Airlines Flight 11 when it was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.
Fire Chief Jay Dowling began the ceremony by thanking those in attendance, before calling for the memories of every individual who died that day to live on.
“Courage can be defined as taking action in the face of peril or death, (and) there was no shortage of courage on that day,” Dowling said.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt was next to speak and said rather than focus on the “cowardly attacks” and the devastation they caused, he tries to recall the aftermath when the nation came together to grieve.
“I try to think about … those heroic moments when we came together as a nation to mourn and to be together as one,” he said. “In all ways that was the best of our nation at that particular time.”
Bettencourt also thanked the city’s public safety departments, saying he was grateful Peabody has so many willing to take on the responsibility of being a first responder.
“You don’t get the credit you deserve,” he added.
Dowling and Peabody Police Capt. Scott Wlasuk offered the firefighters’ and police officers’ prayers, after a moment of silence.
Police Chief Tom Griffin concluded the event with brief remarks of his own, saying the anniversary of the attacks serves as a reminder of how quickly life can change in difficult ways, and that public safety departments need to be prepared to respond.
“We’re very fortunate in the city of Peabody to have two outstanding public safety departments that are ready to do that,” he said. “We can stand together and rely on each other.”