Twelve years ago, on the morning of Sept. 11, then Lawrence Deputy Chief Jack Bergeron was at home, schooling his 14-year-old twins.
He got a call, telling him to turn on the television. And he watched as destruction unfolded before his eyes.
Now Lawrence Fire Department chief, Bergeron recounted his emotions that horrific morning at yesterday’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony outside Lowell Street fire headquarters.
“The firefighters in New York were faced with an impossible situation,” Bergeron said. “I can’t say enough about the heroism that day.”
More than 50 firefighters, both retired and active duty, along with two dozens members of the public attended the 8:30 a.m. ceremony. It was one of many held across the Merrimack Valley yesterday.
In Lawrence, Rev. William Waters spoke to the crowd, recalling how after 9/11 churches across the country with filled with people. Waters, a campus minister at Merrimack College in North Andover, also offered caution, noting “we will never know if another 9/11 will take place in our lives.”
Lawrence Deputy Chief Brian Murphy took the podium, proudly reading the poem “We Shall Never Forget,” by Alan Jankowski.
Agreeing with Waters, Mayor William Lantigua said people did come together after 9/11. However, he added, we shouldn’t “wait for a moment of tragedy to come together.”
“Thank you to all who served then and all those who serve to keep us safe now,” Lantigua added.
Fire Lt. James Flynn served as emcee at yesterday’s event. He was aided during the ceremony by firefighters Miguel Baez and Raymond Kenyon III. Kenyon’s father, Raymond Kenyon Jr., a retired Lawrence firefighter, played the bag pipes yesterday.
Waters, in his closing prayer, asked God “to help us to remember what’s like to be an American.”
In Methuen, flags in front of the fire headquarters came down, and the silence hung heavy as the humid morning air. Then the bells rang out, three sets of five peals, a longtime signal of a firefighter lost.