Park City marks Sept. 11 anniversary: ‘Never forget is true’
Emergency personnel and people from the Park City community on Wednesday morning marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, a ceremony that illustrated how deeply the effects of that day reverberate through the years and across the country.
A small crowd gathered at the Park Avenue police station at a little bit before 8 a.m. for a ceremony that was timed to coincide with the fall of the World Trade Center towers 18 years earlier. The Park City Police Department and the Park City Fire District were well represented as the officers and firefighters stood in respect to those who died, including the emergency responders killed on Sept. 11. Summit County Councilor Glenn Wright was in attendance, but none of the six Park City elected officials were there.
The event, held on a cloudy, drizzly morning, mixed protocol like a formal flag ceremony, the ringing of a bell for the fallen and a dispatcher offering words about Sept. 11 and emotional remarks by speakers from the Police Department and the Fire District.
Paul Hewitt, the Park City fire chief, spoke to the audience, recalling he was a captain in the Salt Lake City department on Sept. 11. He talked of the police officers and firefighters killed that day and said the emergency personnel who responded realized the danger. Hewitt said they risked their lives for others.
“They knew beyond any reasonable doubt that the chances of them getting out of that building that day were slim to none. And yet they decided to enter the building for the chance at helping somebody get out of the building alive or just to be with somebody as they were dying,” Hewitt said. “It’s the nobility of our profession. They chose to enter that building even though they knew that they probably weren’t going to come out.”
He said they were motivated that day by what they saw as the duty to help others. He said firefighters and police officers “are proud of their professions.” Hewitt said he remembered “the nobility and the resolve of our nation” as he suggested those ideals be recalled on the anniversary as well.
“We’re willing to try to help others, try to save other people’s lives, even at the risk of our own lives. That’s exactly what happened on 9/11,” Hewitt said.
Wade Carpenter, the Park City police chief, was the top law enforcement officer in the Southern Utah community of Brian Head on Sept. 11, telling the crowd he was at the time also active in a national tactical association. Twelve tactical officers from Yonkers, New York, Carpenter knew died on Sept. 11, he said, delivering emotional remarks.
“I had 12 of my tactical brothers that lost their lives from Yonkers, New York, that I spent many, many hours with, and to this day … it still breaks my heart,” Carpenter said.
The police chief offered a personal tribute “to men and women in uniform who have served selflessly throughout our nation and throughout our world and the families and communities that support them.”
One of the people who attended the event, Snyderville Basin resident Scott Zink, is a retired New York City Police Department sergeant who spent 24 years with the agency before retiring in 2009 and moving to the Park City area in 2013. He responded to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, describing in an interview that a sergeant at the scene ordered him to secure the perimeter rather than head into the buildings. He was several hundred feet away as the first tower collapsed.
Zink said he worked 18-hour days for three weeks after Sept. 11 and then a stretch of 15-hour days, as part of the search-and-rescue effort, as a member of the recovery teams and as security. He talked about the loss of Sept. 11 first responders from sicknesses in the years since the day.
“It still hurts. It’s still tough to deal with,” Zink said, adding, “It’s something I think about every day. Never forget is true.”
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