The Smyrna/Clayton community came together Sept. 11 for the 9/11 Service Memorial Candlelight Vigil in front of Citizens' Hose Company on West Commerce Street in Smyrna.

The program is put on each year by the fire department and the Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium.

Rev. Dr. John Riley, of First Presbyterian Church, said the events of 9/11 remain burned in our memories like other defining moments in history such as the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"Tonight we remember the horrendous loss sustained by our nation in that barbaric and indecent attack of Sept. 11, 2011. We remember the fallen, the families affected by that tragedy, the fathers and mothers and children who never came home, the colleagues and co-workers, and friends whose lives were taken by the mad henchmen of an evil cause," he said. "We remember those who paid the ultimate price and who gave their lives to rescue others. We honor our frontline defenders in our own community who continue to stand between us and danger imposing their own lives to preserve our own."

"We did not deserve these attacks and as a nation, we must never allow any excuse to be made for the terrorists or terrorism," he said.

Filmmaker and firefighter Lou Angeli was on hand to give his first-hand account of what Ground Zero was like on 9/11. Shredded paper covered the streets of Manhattan, cars were smashed and emergency vehicles looked like they were bombed. Volunteers had to wear surgical masks because the air was so bad.

"Twelve years later and I still remember the smell; it was almost like a musty attic," Angeli said. "We walked past a firefighter that was pacing and I asked him, 'How is it?' He said, 'How is it, how is it. They're all gone, that's how it is.'"

Mayor Joanne Masten took a moment to talk about the strength of American citizens following the attack.

"In the aftermath of that tragic day, the people of our nation displayed an encouraging spirit of unity, compassion, and determination to rebuild and to remember those who died and those who worked so hard to rescue and recover the injured. That unity, compassion and determination is who we are as Americans," Masten said. "As the people of Smyrna remember the tragic events of the past, we know we can look towards the future with hope, strength and courage. For that resilience is simply what we do and who we are as a community."

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