Sept. 11 honored by mayors and others in ceremony

Laura Freeman
Kent Weeklies
Stow Police Department Honor Guard present colors at the Stow Memorial for Sept. 11.

STOW – Even in a pandemic, the mayors of two cities, first responders and veterans gathered with residents at Stow's City Hall to honor those who died during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Stow Police Department Honor Guard Officers Jason Bailey, Justin Smith, Rob Molody and Ryan Schultz presented the colors at the Sept. 11 memorial in front at city hall.

Acker-Moore VFW Post 4738 Second V.P. Ed Ash and American Legion Post 175 Commander Orville Ollis and 1st V.P. Paul Galido gave the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jarrod Williams, associate pastor of Redemption Chapel, gave the opening and closing prayers.

Stow Police Chief Jeff Film and Fire Chief Mark Stone lay a wreath at the Sept. 11 Memorial.

A wreath was presented by Stow Police Chief Jeff Film and Fire Chief Mark Stone.

Stow Mayor John Pribonic said Sept. 11, 2001, is a day that will live in infamy.

“Many of us remember that day as if it was yesterday while others learn about it and experience it through history books and old television footage and reports,” Pribonic said.

It is a day that truly changed the landscape of the country, not just physically but mentally as well, he said. The act of terrorism was a horrible tragedy.

“But while those who perpetrated the attack thought it would break the American spirit, it did not,” Pribonic said. “It made us stronger. We came together as a nation, as a community, to mourn the lives lost on that sad morning, but also to celebrate the heroes who showed courage by fighting back, who helped others in need and those who answered the call as first responders and military members to do their jobs.”

Pribonic said on the anniversary of Sept. 11, the city celebrates the heroes and the spirit of camaraderie that rose up after that day of tragedy.

“We must honor that and live it every day as we fight through the current pandemic,” Pribonic said. “We will get through this together as we did in 2001. Today, as we take a few moments to reflect on the Sept. 11 tragedy, let us also think about how we can apply the hope, strength, perseverance and bravery we learned that day into our daily lives. That is how we truly honor the lives lost that day.”

Stow Mayor John Pribonic, left, and Munroe Falls Mayor James Armstrong honored those who died during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack as well as first responders.

Munroe Falls Mayor James Armstrong said every generation has life-changing events. For his generation, it was Sept. 11, when four planes were hijacked and used as weapons against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center Buildings, and where one was brought down by passengers of Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Armstrong said he recently visited the Flight 93 National Memorial in central Pennsylvania.

“That, like the passengers of Flight 93 who fought back against terrorists to prevent further loss of life, we have always been fortunate to have numerous people who understand the uniqueness and greatness of this American experiment to sacrifice their youth and many times their very lives to preserve our nation’s promise for generations yet born,” Armstrong said. “Where one is not confined to the status of their birth but has the opportunity to go wherever their hard work and perseverance can lead.”

Difficult times creates strength and encouragement with an appreciation of freedoms that are often taken for granted, Armstrong said. It is important to continue to embrace the principle of individual liberty on which the country was founded more than 200 years ago and question those who ask anyone to surrender freedom for the promise of future security.

“Every generation has an obligation to leave to future generations a better country than they inherited,” he said. “Providing our children more opportunities than we had is the true American Dream and is the best way to honor those police officers, firefighters, soldiers, and citizens who did not return home to their families 19 years ago.”

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at