MCCC Commemorates Events of Sept. 11

9/11/08


In a somber ceremony, MCCC staff, students and members of the community gathered on Sept. 11 at the college's Memorial Garden to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and to those who answered the call to help. Master of Ceremonies and MCCC Board Chair Skip Cimino called the day "a celebration of life and a day of remembrance for those who perished." He recognized the police recruits currently in training at the Mercer County Police Academy on the MCCC campus, who attended the ceremony in blue uniforms. Reverend William E. Coleman Jr., vice chair of the Board of Trustees, led the invocation and MCCC Music student Kelly Carvin sang a stirring rendition of "God Bless America."

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes noted that seven years have gone by since the attacks. "This may seem like a long time, but for the many county residents who lost friends and loved ones, the pain of traumatic loss never fades completely. We honor them by showing courage and foresight…by rising above anger and rejecting the notion that violence alone can solve our problems." He stressed the importance of continuing to work together as a community and a country to address problems through cooperation and diplomacy.

MCCC President Patricia Donohue used the Sept. 11th ceremony to help remind us of our core shared values. She also cited the college's role in molding the first responders. "We are proud to partner with the county in training the first responders, both police and firefighters, who protect us. We recognize the challenges of their mission," she said.

Fire Academy Director Scott Loh introduced the program's special guest, Chris Smith, a Trenton firefighter and Fire Academy instructor who was called to Ground Zero just hours after the attacks and spent the next 12 days sifting through the rubble. He recalled his trip up the New Jersey Turnpike as part of a caravan of buses. "We were the only ones on the road that day. We could see the smoke billowing. As we got off the bus, some people were cheering, others were crying." He recalled a scene of utter devastation. "There was gray dust everywhere and large piles of smoking rubble. It looked like a disaster movie." He and his fellow first responders worked around the clock in 12-hour shifts, painstakingly searching for victims in the buildings' debris and in empty spaces below the street. In an assembly line formation, they moved five-gallon buckets filled with rubble to screening areas. "I'll never forget September 11th and the work I did to bring closure to some of the families," he said.

Mercer's remembrance of 9-11 was attended by many
from the college and community.

Laying the wreath, from left, MCCC President Patricia Donohue, Fire Academy Director Scott Loh, Firefighter Chris Smith and MCCC Board Chair Skip Cimino.

Trenton firefighter Chris Smith spoke of his
experience at Ground Zero.
MCCC Music student Kelly Carvin
performing "God Bless America."
Police Academy recruits

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