Whether firefighters, police or civilians, the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001, were remembered Wednesday morning at a memorial service in South Strabane Township.
Staff Sgt. Brandon Crawford of the Pennsylvania National Guard told those gathered at the memorial in the lot of Washington Mall that the events 12 years ago were his generation’s Pearl Harbor.
“I remember sitting in my eighth-grade classroom learning about who knows what when my teacher got a call,” Crawford said of his recollection of those events while he was a student at Chartiers-Houston Junior High School.
“She turned on the television and I remember watching the second plane hitting the tower,” he told those gathered at the service organized by South Strabane police and firefighters. “It was a big influence on my decision to join the military.”
Crawford said it was important never to forget that day. While most Americans were flying flags outside their homes on the days and weeks right after 9/11, Crawford believes that feeling of patriotism has dwindled as time has passed.
“Say thank you to those who give so much; the sacrifices they make like missing Little League games, dance recitals and anniversaries,” he said. “They face danger every day and sacrifice for our safety.”
Pastor Gary Gibson of North Buffalo Presbyterian Church said many gathered at services Wednesday to remember those who gave their lives at Ground Zero, Pentagon and Shanksville.
“As big as this parking lot is, it should be full of people,” he told the crowd, encouraging them to bring friends and loved ones to next year’s event.
South Strabane police Chief Don Zofchak said it is difficult to believe how much time has passed since that day 12 years ago.
“We are called on this day not only to remember those killed on that day but to vow to remain vigilant and prevent it from ever happening again,” Zofchak said.