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State Senator Betty Little at the event. Photo: Jon Lundin, ORDA
State Senator Betty Little at the event. Photo: Jon Lundin, ORDA

"New York Remembers" exhibit commemorates 9/11 in Lake Placid

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Museums, government buildings, and college campuses across New York state, are hosting a special exhibit memorializing the Sept. 11 attacks.

30 sites are displaying "New York Remembers." The exhibit features artifacts from the terrorist attacks, including rescue equipment, pieces of the World Trade Center buildings, and other items from ground zero.

The Olympic Center in Lake Placid is hosting one of the exhibitions. Chris Morris was at a special ceremony at the exhibit earlier this week and has this report...

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Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

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“Do you remember? Do you remember where you were on 9/11, 2001? I remember waking up to blue skies and bright sunshine. My children left for school – it was a normal of what turned out to be a far from normal day.”

Dede Scozzafava was an assemblywoman from Gouverneur when two planes struck the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 – 10 years later, she serves as deputy secretary of state for Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Speaking before a small crowd of elected officials, firefighters and state police, she says the events of that day were nothing short of surreal.

“I can still feel and experience the disbelief, the fear, the sadness,” she said. “I remember rushing to school to pick up my children because I didn’t know what was going to be happening next – none of us did.”

Behind Scozzafava is an enormous banner of the World Trade Center, with the words “New York Remembers” scrawled across the top.

This serves as a sort of backdrop for the exhibit – one of 30 statewide commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Nestled into a corner of the 1980 Rink in Lake Placid, the exhibit features a timeline of Sept. 11 – from early in the morning when the first flights took off to late in the day when mourners began gathering for vigils across the country.

There’s also a giant beam from one of the Twin Towers where rescue workers cut crosses from the steel, and a display of “missing persons” posters distributed after the attacks by friends and families desperate to find their loved ones.

“This is not just about the historic events that took place on that day – it’s also about the names of those we lost, the faces of the first responders, and the stories of all those who were affected on that day.”

Lianne Colby is chief of the Lake Placid Fire Department. She says that at its core, this exhibit is simply about remembering.

“Governor Cuomo has recognized this, and as a father he has stated that he wants his children to learn about the significance of Sept. 11 and instill in them an understanding of why this day should never be forgotten.”

“I went to New York shortly after this to my daughter’s concert in the city and went to the little church that was next to the Twin Towers – a very emotional place. The signs – the pictures reading ‘Have You Seen My Daddy’ – things like that. It was very sad, very… I’ll never forget it.”

Janet Clark of Lake Placid stares somberly at the pictures of first responders who lost their lives trying to save others. She says she’s proud that her hometown is being included in the statewide exhibit.

“It’s wonderful that we’re not forgetting,” Clark said.

“I think for us it’s really hard to put into words what that day means to all of us – to each individual firefighter it means something different.”

Saranac Lake’s fire chief, Brendan Keogh, views the event with a number of his fellow firefighters from across the Tri-Lakes. He recalls speaking with members of his department after they returned from ground zero.

“It’s really difficult to put into words,” he said. “I know I talked to some of the guys who actually went down – we had a crew of 6 people who went down and helped 13 days after the initial event – and I know that I asked them to describe how the felt and they just couldn’t put it into words. There were there. They saw. They helped. And they had no words to describe it.”

And where words fail, it’s exhibits like this that help fill the void and keep the memory of Sept. 11 alive.

From the 1980 Rink in Lake Placid, I’m Chris Morris for North Country Public Radio.

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