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'Tremendous Courage' in the Face of Tragic Losses

A ceremony was held Tuesday morning outside Fire Headquarters to mark the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

The rumbling noises of mid-morning traffic headed up and down Lowell Street came to a halt for about 20 minutes Tuesday so as not to disrupt the the somber scene in front of .

The Fire Department gathered along with Mayor Ted Bettencourt, several members of the , employees and several residents to remember the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Bettencourt spoke briefly about the "tremendous" loss felt across the nation that day, and at home in Peabody as family and friends learned three of Peabody's own were lost as well. Peabody native Christine Barbuto, N. Janis Lasden and Donald DiTullio all perished aboard American Airlines Flight 11 at the Twin Towers.

Bettencourt said the city experienced tragedy again more recently with the death of Firefighter James Rice in the line of duty.

But in both instances, Bettencourt said, the city rallied together and "saw tremendous courage" on display in the face of such loss. "I ask everyone to reflect on that tragic day."

Fire Chief Steven Pasdon listed off the number of casualties at the Twin Towers and in Pennsylvania -- 2,977 victims all told, including 340 firefighters, 61 police officers, a chaplain, two Fire Department paramedics and eight other EMTs.

Pasdon said every person who died that day made "the supreme sacrifice," adding that "any one of us could have been on those planes."

"As a nation, we turned tragedy into perseverance," he said. "We are together as one nation under God...the terrorists' strategy to break us failed."

"Let us spend the rest of the day remembering their sacrifices and the sacrifices every day of our public servants," Pasdon said.

The following prayer was read by Fr. Mario Lopez in addition to the Firefighters Prayer:

Oh God, we remember before you this day our brothers and sisters lost on September 11, 2001. We thank you for their example of courage and sacrifice. In your boundless compassion, console their families, friends, co-workers and all who mourn their loss. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our journey and serve with honor, dignity and courage. Amen.

A new addition to the ceremony this year was bugler Linda Stanley playing "Taps." Stanley, a Peabody resident, said she readily agreed to participate in the 9/11 ceremony and regularly volunteers to play at local graveside services for veterans through the organization Bugles Across America and also at Faneuil Hall in Boston.

She said the first graveside service she played at eight years ago was for her father.

Pasdon said after the ceremony that he is unable to attend the service in Boston Tuesday night where but Deputy Chief Eric Harrison is going in his stead, along with the department's honor guard, union representatives and the Rice family.

Pasdon, the Rices and local union members will then head out to Colorado Thursday for a tribute to Rice and other fallen firefighters by the International Association of Fire Firefighters on Sept. 15. A similar national memorial service will be held in Maryland by the U.S. Fire Administration in October.

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