Remembering 16 years later

NEW YORK – Mr. Charles Blaich, the president of the New York Council of the Navy League, speaks to about 75 members of the Coast Guard, National Park Service and family on the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Mr. Blaich served 31 years on the New York Fire Department and responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan setting up a command post in Lower Manhattan. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy.

NEW YORK – Mr. Charles Blaich, the president of the New York Council of the Navy League, speaks to about 75 members of the Coast Guard, National Park Service and family on the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy.

NEW YORK – Members from U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York, the National Parks Service and family took time Monday morning to remember the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.

Nearly 75 people gathered together to observe morning colors at Fort Wadsworth’s overlook marking the 16th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, when nearly 3,000 people were killed by terrorists who hijacked four commercial jets and crashed them into the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon and, only because of the heroic efforts of several passengers, a Pennsylvania field.

With Manhattan’s skyline and the Freedom Tower visible across New York Harbor, Capt. Michael Day, commanding officer Sector New York, recalled 16 years ago when he responded to the attacks as a lieutenant stationed at Sector New York. He told those gathered that it was a clear, beautiful day much like the one they were witnessing. A day without a clue that what was to happen would change our world forever.

Following Capt. Day’s remarks, Mr. Charles Blaich, president of the New York Council of the Navy League, recounted his experience as he responded to the call 16 years ago as a member of the New York Fire Department. While on medical leave, he received a call from his brother telling him that the World Trade Center was burning. He then made the decision to mobilize and took the Staten Island Ferry into Manhattan. One there he took charge by searching for survivors, working with police to establish security, and finally setting up an incident command post organizing thousands of volunteers as people responded to the attacks. He said he was at the command posts until midnight, went home for a couple of hours and returned on the morning of Sept. 12th. A routine he followed for the next four days.

Every year we remember this day, we remember the 3,000 people who lost their life because of the terrorist attacks; we remember the first responders who risked their lives, some of them who also lost their lives trying to save others. We never forget.

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