MOUNT CARMEL — There’s an old saying about raining on a parade, but for one day you can throw away that old cliche. In a fitting way, Mount Carmel’s 17th annual 9/11 ceremony began just as the first drop of rain fell from the sky Tuesday evening. As steady rain proceeded to follow, it was if tears poured down from above, while heroes from all walks of life were remembered for their heroism and sacrifice in saving lives during the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. Only the bravery of a small group of people prevented a fourth attack by crashing a plane in a field near Shanksville.
At 6 p.m. as firefighters and fire police, rescue squad personnel, EMS, police officers and a VFW Joint Veterans Honor Guard began their slow march down Oak Street from Second to Sixth Street, a crowd of more than 100 people, young and old alike, held their umbrellas, video recording and waving American flags, which were handed out to them by honor guard member Helen Reba, of Frackville.
“I’m very proud to be here today and a part of this,” said Reba.
In addition to the honor guard, the Mount Carmel Fire Department, rescue squad and police department, as well as the Kulpmont Fire and Rescue and Elysburg Fire Department, all participated in the event.
Once the parade reached Sixth Street it stopped at the Clover Hose Company where a brief memorial ceremony followed.
“We have a great group of people who’ve all come out here today to help make this possible. We’ve been doing this for 17 years now and every year it’s an honor to remember our fallen heroes and honor those who serve today,” said Mayor Phillip “Bing” Cimino.
Sitting alongside her two friends, Mount Carmel resident Marylou Nolter added, “It brings back many sad memories. I feel for all those families who suffered loss on 9/11.”
Following the playing of our national anthem, an eight-gun volley, “Taps” and “Amazing Grace,” the Emergency Services Organizations flag was raised alongside those of fire and police.
The Rev. Joan Brown then offered a brief word of prayer, asking for the blessing of emergency personnel.
“We remember that day when our sense of peace, security and innocence were taken away from us,” said Brown.
A number of special readings were performed by Cimino’s niece Melissa Mekosh, including the touching “I Was There: Silent Night 9/11” which spoke of God’s loving presence in the lives of each of those who suffered through the 9/11 tragedy.
The solemn ceremony concluded with Cimino ringing the firefighter’s bell 17 times in honor of those who fell on 9/11.