Eduardo Lafforgue, president of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce, is continuing a tradition started by former president Janice Thomson by hosting a solemn occasion, as he explained, to reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
It is 20 years since that day, he said, and although last year’s service was kept to a minimum due to COVID, this year will revert to the tradition which includes some speeches
by officials, as well as flag-lowering and raising, and attended by first responders, who are recognized for their role in keeping society safe.
They were called out that morning, on a day like any other, to face a situation no one could ever imagine, and for that reason, they are honoured yearly at the Sept. 11 memorial service.
Lord Mayor Betty Disero will speak, as will Lafforgue.
Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day, from 90 countries around the world, including 24 Canadians.
There were many Americans visiting NOTL that day, and several visited the Chamber of Commerce office, some looking for news, others for places to stay the night.
In past years, there have always been a few who returned to be present at the memorial service at the cenotaph.
“We have some Americans returning now that the border is open,” says Lafforgue, “but I don’t think very many. It’s impossible to say whether they will return for the service.”
The American and Canadian flags will be lowered at 8:45 a.m., and after a moment’s silence, raised again to the playing of O Canada, and the American national anthem.
Lafforgue promised at last year’s quiet, scaled-down service, it would continue this year to recognize the 20th anniversary of the traumatic events of that day, and although masks will be worn and all pandemic protocols followed, it is time to resume this significant event, he says.