JACKSON – Township Council members paused from conducting regular business during their meeting on Sept. 11 to recall the terrorist attacks that took place in the United States 17 years to the day earlier.
Council President Ken Bressi said, “What happened 17 years ago, most of us were here for that. That moment affected the lives of (Mayor Michael Reina, who lost his brother), school teachers I worked with in Howell lost their husbands, so it kind of hit home in this area especially.
“The attack was on people going to work, kids traveling on a plane with their parents. It was not an attack on our army, or our military, or a hilltop in Okinawa … This was an attack on civilians going to work, truly a gutless attack and an attack on our freedoms. Well, they did not take (our freedoms) away and I do not think they will,” Bressi said.
Councilman Barry Calogero emotionally read from a statement as recalled the events of Sepr. 11, 2001, from his perspective.
“I was less than a mile away from ground zero (in New York City). It was a day I will never forget … 17 years ago today we saw real Americans stand tall and defend this great country. Despite the tragedies and massive loss of life, we saw men and women come together to help each other,” Calogero said.
Councilman Scott Martin said he doubted there was anyone present in the council chambers who did not remember exactly where they were when they heard a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
“So many things went through your mind,” Martin said
Martin said thousands of people lost their lives senselessly because there are terrorists who hate “our way of life.”
“But also remember all the first responders we lost as a result of 9/11 … first responders who were there helping to save people who were buried, helping to rescue people, who were there breathing in those fumes … many of whom contracted cancer themselves and passed away because they were there, they ran into the flames, they ran into the fire, they ran in to help people. Just to help, just to be there to help,” Martin said.
When something like this happens, “We are no longer Republicans or Democrats, black or white, Catholic or Jewish. All labels are shed, we are Americans first and foremost, and we band together,” Martin said.
Councilwoman Ann Updegrave said, “All we can do is pray for those who were so severely affected” by what occurred.
Council Vice President Rob Nixon said people need to remember and honor the victims in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.
“We need to remember the bravery and heroism of everybody who puts on a police officer’s uniform and a firefighter’s uniform and know that at any given time we are going to ask them to do what they did for us,” Nixon said.
Echoing the sentiments of his fellow council members, Nixon said, “The only thing that stands up to that kind of violence is if we are united and we stand up for each other and I do not just mean that in a generic sense.
“I truly, honestly mean it; if we build up the community where we are beyond labels and we can set (labels) aside, and say (our) community is more important than whatever we want to call ourselves in private.
“So God bless everybody who lost their lives that day and everybody who served our country on that day and moving forward. We can never repay that debt, but we can do our best by caring for each other,” he said.