A community remembers

Published 6:26 pm Sunday, September 11, 2011

Between two American flags, waving in the breeze on a warm Sunday afternoon, sat an I beam recovered from Ground Zero in New York City, where the World Trade Center’s North and South towers once stood. Behind it, a Howard Township Fire Truck let off a siren that cut through the air.

“Today is a day of remembrance,” Lt. David Mattiford said.

Around them, members of the community and the Howard Township Fire Department gathered, just of the department’s main building off U.S. 12 and Barron Lake Rd.

Members of the Howard Township Fire Department place a time capsule into the ground during Sunday's ceremony.

They gathered there to mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks and, especially, to remember the lives of the firefighters whose lives were lost that day.

During the ceremony, a 12 by 4-foot banner was placed into a time capsule to be buried on the fire department grounds, near a special marker donated by Bernie Pitcher.

Tim Phillips and Nancy Korp helped in putting together the banner and the ceremony, Mattiford said. Phillips said he found photos of every firefighter whose life was lost by searching online, had each one laminated and lined them up on the banner.

For Mattiford and other members of the department, though miles may be between them and their fallen brothers, the events of that day still have an emotional impact.

“I always wonder, did they even get to break a nozzle on it?” Mattiford said, his voice breaking as he described the moment a firefighter turns the water on the flame. “I’d like to think they did.”