Friday, September 2, 2011

Sept 9: City Ceremony for 9/11

The City of Aurora is marking the 10thanniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks with a remembrance ceremony that will honor families who lost loved ones and salute the bravery of emergency responders during the tragedy.

The 9/11 commemoration ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at Aurora’s Central Fire Station, 75 N. Broadway Ave. Residents are invited to attend the event as towns across the country reflect on the 2001 attacks, the worst incident of terrorism on U.S. soil.

Highlighting the event will be Darien resident Tom Jones, who was in the World Trade Center’s South Tower for meetings in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. Jones will speak about his decision to leave the building as a precautionary measure after seeing the initial destruction from the plane hitting the World Trade Center’s North Tower, and his journey navigating his way to safety amid confusion and chaos from the building’s 61stfloor. He was in a crowded stairwell near the 36thfloor when the second hijacked airplane crashed into the South Tower.

“We felt the vibrations and the building shaking as we all steadied ourselves on the handrails,” Jones said. “That is when any thoughts that this was a false alarm went out the door.”

The ceremony also will honor the four Marines who attended Aurora high schools that died while serving our country in the War on Terror in Iraq. The soldiers included:

  • Captain Timothy Louis Ryan, 30, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron – 364 Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rdMarine Aircraft Wing; died 2003.
  • Lance Corporal Hector Ramos, 20, Company C, 1stBattalion, 3rdMarine Regiment, 3rdMarine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force; died 2005.
  • Private Edwardo Junior Lopez, 21, Company F, 2ndBattalion, 3rdMarine Regiment, 3rdMarine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force; died 2006.
  • Lance Corporal Jesse Dan DeLaTorre, 29, Headquarters & Service Co., 2ndBattalion, 7thMarine Regiment, 1stMarine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force; died 2007.

The Aurora Fire Department Honor Guard will perform a flag folding ceremony and present each family of the fallen soldiers with a flag.

The event will feature the West Aurora High School Madrigals performing the national anthem, East Aurora High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps leading the Pledge of Allegiance, bag pipes and a 21-gun salute. Mayor Tom Weisner, Fire Chief Hal Carlson, Police Chief Greg Thomas, Police Chaplain Father Jerome “Jerry” Leake and Fire Chaplain Gerald Rygh also will give remarks at the ceremony. Refreshments will be served following the event.

Parking for the ceremony is available behind the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway Ave., and the adjacent parking lots across the street on Broadway Avenue and New York Street. In case of inclement weather, the 9/11 ceremony will be moved inside the Central Fire Station Garage.

The Aurora Fire Department Museum will be hosting an open house following the ceremony to showcase a special 9/11 exhibit. Originally produced in 2001, “Ground Level: September 11-14” is comprised of more than a dozen photographs from New York City Sanitation employees Tom Pasquarelli and Vincent Piccolo and crane operator Steve Bova surveying the aftermath of destruction. The City’s Aurora Public Art Commission is loaning the exhibit to the Museum.

The Museum also will highlight how the 9/11 tragedy impacted Aurora. One display case spotlights Aurora firefighters responding to New York as part of a national rescue and relief effort while another section features mementos from residents grieving and reacting with a flurry of patriotism.

The “Ground Level” photos and 9/11 artifacts will be on display through Saturday, Oct. 1. The Museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. For more information on the exhibit, visit

Residents interested in attending the ceremony are encouraged to RSVP by calling the City’s Community Services Department at 630-256-3400.

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