“In many ways, we never felt more American”

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Irvington was one of the many villages, towns and cities throughout the nation that paused on the morning of 9/11—a Tuesday, just as it was the day the twin towers were struck by hijacked airlines. Standing on the southern shoreline of the village’s Scenic Hudson Park, Mayor Brian Smith addressed a small crowd and a contingent of Irvington’s police, fire and ambulance corps members. “It was on this spot, 17 years ago, that many residents waited for their loved ones to return home from the city, the smoke still rising from the World Trade Center visible behind me” he said.  “We came together as a community that day to support one another and the tragedy brought our village even closer together.  We learned again just how strong we are in this village and in this nation.  While we knew we would never be the same, we realized we had to get on with our lives, and that we would be here to support each other.  This camaraderie provided yet another reason to love our little village and the wonderful, supportive people that would get us through one of our nation’s darkest periods.”

Members of Irvington’s uniformed organizations laid a wreath at a memorial honoring two villages residents killed that day: Bobby Spiesman and Soichi Numata. Michael Collins, a graduate of Irvington High School but no longer a resident of the villages, also died that day.

“As I have said in previous years,” said the mayor,  “I believe the best way to honor those lost in the atrocities of September 11th is by remembering America on September 12th, 2001.  We were shocked, hurt and angry, but we were also more tolerant, more compassionate and had a renewed urgency in looking for ways to help our fellow Americans.  In many ways, we never felt more American.  Blood banks filled, donations to charities soared, volunteerism increased, everywhere you looked there were American flags – race didn’t matter, religion didn’t matter, economic status didn’t matter – we were Americans, we were hurting and we were helping each other get through our sadness and despair.”

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