New York firemen remember 9/11 victims at north Lancashire church service (From The Westmorland Gazette)
When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
New York firemen remember 9/11 victims at north Lancashire church service
A HUMBLE group of New York fire fighters were welcomed by the residents of a north Lancashire village for a poignant 9/11 remembrance service.
Twelve Americans, many who worked during the 2001 tragedy, visited Warton’s St Oswald’s Church for a memorial event to mark the 12th anniversary.
The trip was part of a golf tour – The Cyder Cup – organised by Manchester Airport station manager Peter Wild, which has brought the Americans to England every four years since 2003.
Mr Wild said: “The fire fighting fraternity is a very close knit community so as you can imagine the events of 9/11 were felt very deeply by our profession worldwide.
“Just handing over a cheque wasn’t an option – we tried a different approach and decided to invite fire fighters to come to the UK for a paid-for week of some much needed R and R.”
This year Warton was chosen as a stop-off point on the tour due to its link to the George Washington family, and after the church service the visitors enjoyed a buffet in the village pub named after the first president.
Jeff Kozuch, one of those taking part in the trip, spoke of the day the Twin Towers went down, on which he was working in Brooklyn.
He said: “When the planes hit 10,000 fire fighters made their way to ground zero. If you were a fireman you went.
“I watched the building fall and then spent the next weeks looking for people. We then spent the next six months with the recovery trying to find bodies and getting everything removed.”
Mr Kozuch explained that it was a ‘big deal’ to be away from home on the anniversary.
“9/11 is a very important day. You are expected to be at official memorials, with your own station. We usually stop our lives for today,” he said.
“So for us to come over here was difficult. I feel guilty not being at my station commemorating the men who died, but as I have done it at the church here in Warton it definitely feels better.”
John Darcy, who lives in the Queens area of the city but who works in Manhattan, was not working on September 11, 2001, but still went to help at the scene.
He said: “Since I live in Queens I had to get my equipment together, so I got there 25 minutes after the second building had come down. That delay saved my life.
“This is the first time I have been away from New York City on 9/11 – I have just called my aunt because I lost my cousin that day. It’s very hard not being with her today, but everyone here is making it much more comfortable."
The St Oswald’s service, which was attended by villagers, local firemen and Carnforth dignitaries, was conducted by the Rev John Bannister, and included the playing of both national anthems.
Rev Bannister said: “It was obviously an incredibly emotional experience for us, and brought home to me for the first time the real kind of pain from the events of that day. I could tell that just looking into the faces of the fire fighters.”
Mr Darcy added: “The service here was beautiful. I did not know what to expect but it was emotional and the Reverend was so genuine with his words.”
Comments are closed on this article.