ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – September 11 is a national day of remembrance and is a particularly painful day for New Yorkers. Hundreds of Capital District first responders jumped into action that day and many people are still reeling from the lasting impacts still felt 22 years later.
“9/11 was a horrible tragic day and we want to be respectful to those people,” said Schenectady Fire Chief Don Mareno.
He said the department has a subtle way of “never forgetting” and honoring individuals with ties to 9/11. For the entire month of September they’re flying the American flag on their first responder vehicles in a simple, yet respectful, gesture of support.
“It is our way of showing that we are in support of the 343 firefighters that died that day, of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day and not just for them but all the family and friends who are affected to this very day,” said Mareno.
Eight Schenectady firefighters, with the New York State Task Force 2 Urban/Technical Search and Rescue, went down to the city to help that day but Mareno says everyone offered to help.
Those gentlemen are Vincent Kawlecki, Ronald Baier, Michael Denny, Michael Della Rocco, John Zampella, Kurt Siegel, Raymond Senecal and Douglas Faulisi Jr. – who is the only one who has not retired yet. All of them returned to have successful careers, Mareno said.
“All of them were very successful. All of them moved up the ranks at the Schenectady Fire Department,” said Mareno. “Our members are standing shoulder to shoulder with all those people who have given their lives on that day, and since then.”
He pointed to the many who dealt with, or are dealing with, health complications after the attack.
“It is said that the New York City Fire Department that they are going to surpass the number of people who have died from 911 injuries then died on that day. That’s a sobering statistic.
So the effects are still here, 22 years later,” said Mareno.
Monday was filled with 9/11 memorial ceremonies that happened throughout the Capital District but the New York State Museum has had a World Trade Center exhibit on display for 21 years.
The museum’s Senior Historian Aaron Noble said the exhibit served as a memorial when it first opened but now it serves educational purposes.
“Students who have no living memory of September 11…This exhibit allows them to connect and understand this pivotal moment in American history,” said Noble.
Noble says despite having not been born at the time of the tragedy, many young people do understand the significance and much of that has to do with the lasting consequences.
“We are seeing a world that was transformed in the wake of 9/11. The way we travel through airports, the way we engage with a security state with the passage of the Patriot Act. The fact that the United States military spent 20 years in Afghanistan, subsequent wars in Iraq, and Africa where the U.S. military is involved in operations,” said Noble.
He said the many people serving in the military right now were not born in 2001 and that demonstrates just how long the lasting impact of the attack has been.