Warwick students honor those killed on 9/11

By on September 14, 2016
Amelia Fair sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the ceremony. Photos by Laura Knowles

Amelia Fair sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the ceremony. Photos by Laura Knowles

Amelia Fair was just three months old when America was turned upside-down with the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001.

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Fair, a Warwick High School sophomore, sang a heart-rending National Anthem to a crowd of students, teachers, administrators, and emergency personnel gathered at the high school flagpole on Monday morning.

The flag was flying at half-mast against a clear blue sky that very much like the sky on that terrible day.

“I was just a baby, of course, but as I grew up I learned what had happened and I was devastated,” said Fair. “I wanted to be here today to sing the National Anthem at today’s memorial.”

The memorial was organized by Warwick High School social studies teacher, Paul Castellitto, who is also advisor to the high school Civics Club. This was the fourth year that Castellitto had planned the early morning memorial service at 7:10 a.m. just before students began their school day.

The oldest of the students could only have been three years old at the time. Some, like Fair, were just babies. Many were not even born yet.

“I was born in November of 2000, so I was not old enough to remember,” said Nathan Castellitto. “I was maybe nine or 10 by the time I really understood what had happened. I am here today to pay my respects especially to the first responders.”

Many local first responders were there at the ceremony. They came from the Lititz Borough Police and the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police. They came from the Brickerville Volunteer Fire Company, the Brunnerville Volunteer Fire Company, the Lititz Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 and the Rothsville Volunteer Fire Company. They represented the Brickerville VFC Ambulance, Rothsville VFC Ambulance Corps, and the Warwick Community Ambulance Association.

“These are the people who rush in when help is needed,” said Paul Castellitto, who highlighted a few of the local hometown heroes who protect our community on a daily basis.

Recently retired Lititz Borough Police Chief Bill Seace was honored as a hometown hero, as well as Gordon Young of the Rothsville Fire Company, and Nevin May of the Brickerville Fire Company.

Warwick High School’s new school resource officer Peter Savage spoke at the gathering. He recalled that he was a young police officer with Akron Borough at the time of 9/11. He had been working on a tragic murder case in Akron, when the he heard about the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, then the plane crash in Pennsylvania and the attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. In all, nearly 3,000 died and twice as many were injured.

“First responders are trained to run toward tragedy,” said Savage. “This is the selflessness of first responders, many of whom are volunteers.”

The ceremony concluded with a moment of silence for a day that will live on in the American memory, even for those who do not remember it, because they were too young or not yet born.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer for the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *