ALBION — It’s Sept. 11, 2001, and American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 leave Boston heading toward Los Angeles.
Flight 11 is hijacked at 8:19 a.m. and a minute later American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Washington Dulles International Airport, also heading toward Los Angeles. At 8:42 a.m. United Flight 93 takes off from Newark International Airport heading for San Francisco.
Four minutes later Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and six minutes later Flight 175 is hijacked. Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m.
Flight 77 is hijacked at 9:12 a.m. and at 9:37 a.m., it crashes into the Pentagon. At 10:03 a.m., passengers and crew member storm the cockpit of Flight 93 and the plane crashes in a field in Shanksville, Pa.
Standing in front of the courthouse in Albion on Friday evening, flags lined the sidewalks and first responder vehicles were posted out front, with an American flag draped between two fire trucks. About 50 Orleans County residents came out to remember the nearly 3,000 who were lost that day and continue to die even now due to 9/11-related illnesses.
“Each of us in our own way remembers the hours after Sept. 11, 2001, when America came together like never before,” said Chairwoman Lynne Johnson of the Orleans County Legislature. “Neighborhoods from shore to shore flew Old Glory. House after house, street after street.
“There will be no forgetting Sept. 11,” she continued. “It is burned into our souls. Those graphic pictures, the smoldering ash and the endless funerals.”
Johnson reminded people to honor the value of all lives; they mattered on Sept. 11, and all lives matter so much today. Director Dale Banker of Orleans County Emergency Management, said those who watched the events unfurl on TV will never forget the feeling of horror as the towers fell to the earth.
Scott Schmidt, Orleans County chief coroner, was called down that September Tuesday morning in 2001. He spent three weeks working on the Twin Towers response.
“For me, this ceremony is more than just a ritual. This ceremony is a personal reminder of the events of that day,” he said, his voice wavering with emotion. “In the recovery efforts following the collapse of the towers, I’ll never forget the seemingly endless sound of an air horn blast which signified a body or part of a body had been found by a recovery worker on the pile.”
The population of the village of Albion, Schmidt said, roughly 5,800 people. The village of Holley is roughly 1,800 people.
“Can you imagine if the people of Holley were all of a sudden gone? What if half of the people of Albion were all of a sudden gone?” he asked.
Thus the commemoration continued, as area residents and officials remembered the tragedy, horror, bravery and resilience of a sunny day 19 years before.