By ZEINAB NAJM
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — A tribute on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 honored all heroes of the past who were impacted by 9/11 and the heroes of the present, the first responders that kept people safe and healthy especially over the past 18 months dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Co-Chairman Paul Carnarvon began his speech at Knights of Columbus Father Alfred Saylor Council 3774 by recapping the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York; the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. Almost 3,000 Americans were killed and over 25,000 were injured.
“In many ways this tragedy was a unifying event for our country and the world in the fight against terrorism – patriotism and American flags,” he said Sept. 11. “I have watched clips of 9/11 caught on film and noted that everyone was helping each other – all races, religions, politics. They all had one thing in common – they were Americans shocked by an attack on their beautiful city.”
He said he remembered the tragic event clear as day.
“It was a beautiful Tuesday in Michigan but a somber day in NYC,” Carnarvon said. “On my commute home from work down I-94 there was not a plane in the sky by Metro Airport. Later that week I learned of a gentleman I worked with lost his son who was visiting the WTC. Ironically, his other son who worked there every day, was fortunately not in the building. Imagine what this family and all of the other families, survivors and witnesses felt in the aftermath.”
Carnarvon thanked all the first responders, troops and veterans who served in the wars over the last 20 years along with the 13 service men and women who recently were killed in Afghanistan.
The Allen Park Honor Guard then presented the American flag and Allen Park flag, the VFW Honor Guard conducted the 21-gun salute along with the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by the Allen Park High School math teacher Larry Dunlap who also led the Pledge of Allegiance.
A prayer in honor of the heroes was read by Deputy Grand Knight Robert LaHousse followed by a speech by Mayor Gail McLeod. Police, fire, first responders and other everyday heroes were recognized.
The tribute to the heroes of today centered on the challenges around the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in the loss of over 650,000 Americans.
“Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look,” Carnarvon said. “Or they aren’t looking hard enough. Let’s not underestimate the American spirit. We have had a history of rising to the occasion and we should recognize that over 31 million Americans have recovered from the virus of the 41 million cases.
“We have three vaccines thanks to the efforts of some brilliant and exceptional people. We thank all of our medical personnel caring for us and our loved ones.”
The end of the evening featured entertainment at Fr. Saylor Park.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])