Local News

Will County remembers the 2,977 people who were killed in the 9/11 attacks

20th anniversary ceremony was held in front of the Will County courthouse on Saturday

About 100 members from the community gathered at the Will County courthouse on Saturday for a remembrance ceremony in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Will County executive gave the opening and closing remarks and a combined honor guard from Joliet’s police and fire services presented and lowered the colors.

Stacy Sienko, music director at the Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet, sang the national anthem and Rev. Christopher Groh of the Police Chiefs Association of Will County gave the invocation.

Groh prayed that God would change people’s anxiety to courage and their fear to hope, so they may become “an instrument of peace in the world.”

Deputy Chief Adam Bogart, president of the Police Chiefs Association of Will County, introduced Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow.

Glasgow exhorted the community to thank police officers and firefighters for their service. He said without it, there would be “chaos in the streets” and “no transportation to hospitals” and “fires burning around us.”

“To all policemen and firemen here, thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Glasgow said.

Chief John O’Connor, president of the Will County Fire Chiefs Association, introduced Brother Ed Arambasich, chaplain for the Joliet Fire Department and guest speaker. Arambasich had served for four weeks at Ground Zero in New York six months after the attacks and shared some of his experiences.

Arambasich said it was awesome to look out at the “sea of uniforms” in attendance at the ceremony, which represented a service of kindness, generosity, integrity, and faith, hope and love.”

He then asked people to reflect on what it means to serve and what compels people to serve in the face of tragedy.

He added, ”We are blessed to have wonderful people in uniforms who have heard God’s grace and responded freely to serve each other.”

Arambasich said, “we all remember where we were at the time of the attacks,” and shared where he was, too. At the time. Arambasich said he was in the kitchen, preparing breakfast, watching TV, and when the newscast shifted to the attacks, Arambasich assumed he was watching a trailer for a new action-packed movie.

“And then I realized it was real life, in real time,” Arambasich said.

Arambasich said the Franciscan ministry, of which he is a part, is a “ministry of presence, of being with a person where they are in life where the are in the moment.” So Arambasich gave his presence to the grieving firefighters and let them tell their stories to him, a new presence in their lives.

He stressed the importance of people sharing their stories.

“Through telling stories, we heal ourselves,” Arambasich said.

Lt. Matt Olsen, vice president of the Associated Fire fighters of Illinois 4th District, led the bell ceremony for the 2,977 people who were killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C

The Will County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard gave a rifle salute.

The Joliet Police and Fire Department Pipes and Drums played “Amazing Grace.”

And Carlo Isabella, Joliet-area professional trumpet player, played taps.

At the memorial’s conclusion Groh prayed for those who lost loved ones in the attacks, asking the God of peace to “give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.”

And Groh asked God to give everyone else the courage to continue working toward creating a world of peace.

“Where love reigns,” Groh added.