Six Aurora firefighters were deployed to New York City immediately following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. After a non-stop sixteen-hour drive to New York, they worked for four intense days on rescue and recovery efforts. They returned home, forever impacted by what they experienced.
Two decades later, the six heroes will be special guests at Aurora’s September 11 Memorial Ceremony to commemorate the 20th anniversary of that fateful day.
Hosted by the Aurora Fire Department, the Aurora Police, and Mayor Richard C. Irvin, the ceremony will begin at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, September 11 at the RiverEdge Park Bridge, 360 N. Broadway in downtown Aurora.
The theme is ‘In Remembrance of Those Who Passed. In Reverence for Those Who Served.”
“Twenty years ago, our world was forever changed with the horrific attacks on September 11,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “We honor those who sadly lost their lives and those who were called to serve in response. I salute my fellow veterans who stood up to defend and protect our nation these past two decades. And, as we reflect on what happened on September 11, 2001, we also honor our own Aurora firefighters who quickly traveled to New York and returned home as heroes.”
Those heroes – current Battalion Chief Jason Dema, Battalion Chief Randy Leek, Captain Will Torres and retired firefighters Gary Pozzi, Mark Lockwood, and Tim Pogue - will be special guests at the ceremony and recognized for their deeds.
Battalion Chief Demas will speak on behalf of the group and reflect on their life-changing duties in New York City.
In addition, four memorial bells will toll to mark the times the four airplanes crashed. The first bell will toll at 7:46 a.m. to mark the time Flight 11 crashed into North Tower. The second bell will toll at 8:03 a.m. to mark when Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. The third bell will toll at 8:37 a.m. to mark Flight 77’s crash into the Pentagon. Finally, the fourth bell will toll 9:03 a.m. to mark Flight 93 crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Between the first and second bells, the names of the 38 victims born or who lived in Illinois will be read in tribute to all victims of the attacks.
During the ceremony, Aurora Gold Star families will be recognized, remarks will be made by Mayor Richard Irvin, Aurora Fire Chief Gary Krienitz, Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross, and Aurora Poet Laureate Karen Christensen; and a joint APD & AFD Honor Guard will present the colors and lay a memorial wreath.
The ceremony is open to the public. Register at www.aurora-il.org/September11