First responders gather at the Peace Arch to remember 9/11’s fallen

New York City tragedy ‘brought out the best in human spirit’

First responders from both sides of the border gathered this morning at Peace Arch Park to honour those who gave their lives to help others during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and those who, 16 years later, continue to serve and protect, both in their own backyard, and around the world.

Police, firefighters, paramedics, politicians and civilians converged on the international border between South Surrey, B.C. and Blaine, Wash., to remember a tragedy that both devastated and strengthened.

“On Sept. 11, my department lost 23 members. Matt’s lost 343,” New York Police Department Sgt. Kevin Lynch told the crowd, referring also to the enormous impact the attacks – which killed nearly 3,000 that day – had on the city’s fire department, which was represented Monday by Matthew Zimpfer.

“Think about those numbers for a minute, because a number’s just a number until you think about the fact that each one of those people had a family that they cared about, had people they loved and people who loved them.

“But they did what first responders always do, and that’s run to whoever needs help.”

One after another, speakers stood, acknowledging the “heartbreaking and devastating acts of violence” of that day, but returning always to give thanks and acknowledge the partnerships and resolve that strengthened in the wake of the tragedy.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Blaine area port Director Kenneth Williams posed, and answered, the question, “are we truly safer?”

“I can stand here with confidence and say yes,” Williams said, citing improvements in security measures in the years since 9/11, and ones to come.

“For those who wish to do us harm, we are sending a clear message.”

Vancouver Police Department Supt. Mike Porteous said that while the border may divide the U.S. and Canada, “we are human beings and fellow first responders, brothers and sisters.”

“Together we stand in the face of tragedy, remembering our fallen heroes and carrying on in their names. We will remember,” Porteous said.

South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts, representing Canada in the ceremony, echoed the call to “always remember” those who died.

U.S. Consul General Katherine Dhanani said the day was to remember “those brave men and women who gave everything for strangers they never knew simply because it was in them to respond as heroes.”

Lynch told the crowd that he doesn’t feel like a hero for his actions on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I feel like a person who did my job, and I think that’s what every first responder would mention when asked why they do it,” he said.

“It was a horrible day for us, as a city, as a nation and as a world, but in the days, and the weeks, months and the years that have followed, it’s brought out the best in the human spirit.”


The U.S. colour guard and other first responders at Peace Arch Park Monday, where a memorial was held to honour those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Three percent accommodation tax approved for Bella Coola accommodation providers

Only fixed-room accommodation providers with four rooms or more are required to charge the tax.

U.S. consulate general to visit Northwest

Trip part of the region’s first-ever pop-up consul for American residents

B.C.’s north heats up to record highs

Bella Bella, Masset, Prince Rupert and the Cassiar Area all broke records

Sealed DNA in Phillip Tallio murder case must be released, orders Judge

A unanimous decision by B.C. Court of Appeal judges has ordered the release of a sealed DNA sample

BC Rural Dividend funds wildfire recovery projects in the Bella Coola Valley

Central Coast Regional District and Central Coast Communications Society are both receiving funds

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Canadian Paralympic team picked up record 28 medals

The 55 athletes strong had set a cautious goal of 17 medals for PyeongChang

Canadian comic Mike MacDonald dies at 63

Ottawa-born comedian had performed on David Letterman

B.C. VIEWS: Speculation tax, cabin tax or asset tax?

Targeting empty homes seems confused and ineffective

Inspections, training needed to prevent repeat of Fernie ammonia leak across B.C.

Ammonia is inherently dangerous and should be not used in skating and curling rinks, says one expert

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Most Read