This morning, I attended a 9/11 memorial ceremony on the Green in Woodstock, Vermont which was organized by the town’s emergency services organizations. The morning started with a breakfast at the Masonic Temple; at 8:15, everyone gathered walked to the Green for the ceremony. Veteran NBC News reporter, Bob Hager, recalled his experiences during those days 10 years ago, followed by ringing of all the church bells in the town, 4 of which were cast by Paul Revere’s foundry. What followed was especially poignant in light of the disaster that southern Vermont suffered caused by heavy rains from tropical storm Irene, just 2 weeks ago. Fire chief Butch Sutherland recalled the days following 9/11, and recognized firefighters, EMS technicians, and police officers for their bravery that saved lives during the storm. The fast water rescue team from Hartford, Vermont was also recognized for evacuating victims in the path of the raging Ottauqhechee River 2 Sundays ago.
There were tears, hugs, and support of each other in this little town in Vermont where wounds of disaster are so fresh. There was no talk of war, no jingoism, no hatred of others. There was only a simple, quiet unity that, more than sabre rattling and swaggering, showed the real strength of the United States, one that is often overshadowed by the loud angry voices that we often hear.
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