PHOTO: The Honor Guard performs the ceremonial tolling of the bell in honor of those lost during 9/11. / Photo by Alexander Willis
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
The sounds of bells rang down Columbia Avenue in Franklin on Tuesday morning as Franklin fire, police and city officials held a memorial service for those who died during 9/11.
Hundreds of residents gathered outside the Franklin Police Headquarters for the service, with two fire trucks parked in the street, their ladders extended to wave a large American flag.
After words from Mayor Ken Moore and Chief of Police Deborah Faulkner, Fire Chief Rocky Garzarek explained how the tolling of the bell was historically used to signal the death of first responders.
“Today, we continue this fire service tradition as a sign of honor and respect for all the emergency first responders who lost their lives, and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country on September 11, 2001,” Garzarek said. “Honor Guard – ring the bell.”
With only the sounds of the fire truck engines idling in the background, two members of the Honor Guard rang the ceremonial bell 15 times.
— Alexander Willis (@ReporterWillis) September 11, 2018
During the memorial service Gary Poggiali, a police officer who was working in New York City during 9/11, shared parts of his experience.
“On the morning of September 11 2001, I was on my way in to work when the first plane hit the World Trade Center,” Poggiali said. “When I finally got down to ground zero, one of my first sights was the landing gear to one of the aircraft… it was in the street.”
Poggiali explained how he and fellow police officers were tasked with searching through rubble when an alarm went off, which indicated one of the towers might fall. Instructed to leave the site, Poggiali said officers left and came back multiple times, before deciding to ignore the alarm, and continue the search.
“Since then, I’ve lost friends and coworkers over the years due to the cancers from the exposure to the dust,” Poggiali said. “They say more people have died from exposure than that initial day… so let’s never forget. God bless America.”