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Randy Nelson

Members of the Mount Sinai Fire Department during a 9/11 memorial service on Monday night, Sept. 11. Photo by Raymond Janis

Outside the Mount Sinai Fire Department at dusk on Monday night, Sept. 11, members of the Mount Sinai Fire Department held their annual commemoration for those who perished on that date 22 years earlier.

Firefighters gathered at the department’s 9/11 memorial, surrounded by family and community members, where they reflected upon the memory of those who died, recognizing the sacrifice of the first responders who had paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Chief Randy Nelson presides over the Mount Sinai Fire Department’s annual 9/11 memorial service. Photo by Raymond Janis

Department chaplain Micky Nassauer delivered the evening’s invocation, outlining the purpose of this annual occasion.

“On this solemn day of remembrance, may we honor the lives that were lost in this tragic act, and may we give thanks to those who served and saved,” he said.

Chief of Department Randy Nelson performed the annual bell ringing ceremony, which rang out in honor of the 343 New York City Fire Department members who laid down their lives in the line of service.

“We honor their supreme sacrifice,” Nelson said, “On this day and every day.”

Photo by Raymond Janis

In an address to the department, Nelson chronicled the events on that Tuesday morning as they transpired in real time. Despite the darkness and the destruction unleashed upon the city and nation, he maintained that the nation has persevered, offering a new approach to reflect upon that moment in history.

“The words ‘Never forget’ have become synonymous with September 11,” the fire chief said. “But as stated today by one of the victims’ family members, ‘Always remember’ is really the better approach.”

He advised, “Keep your memory of that day as a way to remember all that were lost.”

Photo courtesy Elliot Perry/MSFD

The Mount Sinai Fire Department held a memorial service on Sunday, Sept 11, in honor of the lives lost on 9/11.

Community members gathered at the fire department’s memorial. There, various members of MSFD delivered speeches commemorating the fallen. Following these statements, the department performed a ceremonial bell ringing, recognizing those who died in the line of duty. 

In an interview, Chief Randy Nelson discussed the ceremony’s purpose. For him, this annual custom preserves the memory of first responders who risked it all in the name of duty. It also recognizes the many civilians who died during the attacks.

“It’s a way to honor those who were lost on that day and, unfortunately, those that were lost since then battling diseases that stemmed from their work at Ground Zero in the months after,” he said. “It’s a way to honor, remember and — like it’s always said — to never forget. It is important to always have their memory at the top of our minds, especially on this day, but every day.”

— Photos courtesy Elliot Perry/MSFD