December 5, 2021

Local events to honor those who died on 9/11

Travis Dunn/Staff Reporter

Retired Col. Kevin Forney, left, talks about his experiences during and after 9/11 during a Wednesday morning ceremony at Courthouse Park in Cortland in this Cortland Standard file photo from 2019.

Cortland and Homer to commemorate the people who died during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Starting the day at 8:30 a.m., the Cortland 9/11 Memorial Foundation — Cortland Community Oriented Police Officer Jesse Abbott, Deputy Chief Paul Sandy and veteran Norm Stitzel — will host a memorial ceremony in Courthouse Park, Sandy said.

The event will feature retired Air Force Col. Kim Walsh as the keynote speaker, according to the event’s Facebook page. Walsh was working in the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.

The lives of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Officer Paul Jurgens, SUNY Cortland graduate Karen Navarro and Michael Boyle, a SUNY Cortland student and New York City Fire Department firefighter will be remembered.

Church Street will be closed off to traffic during the roughly 45-minute event. Masks and social distancing will be required.

Friday evening, the Homer Police Department, in collaboration with the Homer Fire Department and Homer’s American Legion Post 465 will have a memorial event at 6 p.m. at the village’s 9/11 memorial outside of the Homer Fire Department, 45 S. Main St., said Police Chief Robert Pitman.

The event, which Pitman said will be very brief due to coronavirus restrictions on gatherings, will start with the pledge of allegiance followed by a benediction from either the police department’s or fire department’s chaplain. A wreath will be placed in front of the monument before Taps is played.

“It’s been 19 years” since the attacks happened, Pitman said. “That’s something we should not forget.”

Members of the public are allowed to attend, but will be required to wear face coverings and be socially distant.

Pitman is hoping next year’s event — which would mark 20 years since the attacks — will be a bigger, daylong event with multiple speakers. Full details, though, are still in the works.

SUNY Cortland will post videos on its website and social media pages with a message from college President Erik Bitterbaum and Alison Davis, the chief of the college’s EMS, in remembrance of the day and the seven alumni who died that day, said Kevin Pristash, the director of the college’s Corey Union.

In years past, the college has hosted a remembrance event on the steps of the union, he said. This year though, due to coronavirus concerns, it will be online.

“I think it’s important to take the time to mark the day, remember the alums and make the connections that once upon a time, these students were just like us,” Pristash said.