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Mainers Mark Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
09/11/2013   Reported By: Patty B. Wight

Today is the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the day has been marked with remembrances, including a ceremony in Freeport. As Patty Wight reports, Gov. Paul LePage and other speakers reflected on 9/11and the wars that followed, and used the occasion to also express concerns about possible military action in Syria.

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Former Adjutant Gen. Bill Libby

Former Adjutant Gen. Bill Libby addresses those gathered to commemorate the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as Gov. Paul LePage and Maine First Lady Ann LePage listen in the background.

The ceremony in Freeport was held in a memorial park off a small corner plot off Main Street where two pieces of steel from the World Trade Center stand upright to create a replica of the twin towers that came tumbling down 12 years ago. Former Maine Adjutant General Bill Libby spoke to a crowd that extended from the park to the curb across the street.

"Heroes quite often tend to take the form of men and women in uniform, law enforcement people, firefighters, military," he said. "Heroes are everywhere - in the form of flight attendants, passengers, coworkers, passersby."

Freeport Fire Chief Daryl Fournier says Maine citizens are obligated to remember all those impacted by the attacks, and to provide support to the military and first responders.

"I challenge you today to serve at the community level," he said, "so that we may be prepared to respond to other terrorist incidents, and be successful in our duties."

The ceremony today was intended not only to memorialize, but to encourage more community service in any form. Those who have already answered that call filled the crowd, including M.J. Crace. She works with a program that supports returning vets called Wounded Heroes.

"Sometimes it's putting fuel in their tanks so that they and their family are warm, sometimes it's connecting them with the appropriate caregivers that they need," she says.

The Freeport Flag Ladies were highlighted many times as an example of how citizens can give back. The three ladies have dedicated themselves to supporting the military since the attacks, from waving American flags on Main Street every Tuesday morning, to shipping supplies overseas.

They sparked inspiration in Biddeford High School teacher Dave Pasquarello, who performed an original song at the ceremony in honor of his friend Karen Martin, who died as a flight attendant on September 11.

"It's not about your political affiliation. It's about expressing, whatever your beliefs are, be active," Pasquarello said. "Be part of this American process."

An occasion marked by the loss of thousands of lives, both on September 11th and in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since, also brought out concerns over a possible U.S. military strike against Syria. Gov. Paul LePage, whose administration has focused on the needs of the military, spoke against that prospect.

"And I ask you all this morning, let's pray - real hard - so the people in Washington make the right decisions," LePage said. "We do not want our military to go to a third battle."

After the ceremony in Freeport, Gov. LePage attended an American Legion ceremony in Brunswick that recognized Mainers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as veterans of previous wars.

Photo:  Patty Wight


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