Alaska to honor 9/11 victims

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 20:00
Senate calls for one minute of silence

The U.S. Senate is asking the American people to remember the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks together as one nation.

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling for a Moment of Remembrance on Sunday — the 10th anniversary of the attacks — at 9 a.m. ADT.

“The Moment of Remembrance will take place for one full minute … and cities and towns, firehouses, churches and other institutions across the country are called upon to sound sirens and ring bells during that minute,” U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said in a press release. “These sirens and bells will be a signal for each person to stop and remember the people we lost and demonstrate the perseverance the American people have shown since that fateful day.” Begich urged council members, mayors and other city leaders to participate.

Other events will be held in Chugiak-Eagle River and Anchorage to honor those killed on 9/11. Those commemorations include:

• A brief commemoration will be held at the Eagle River Elks beginning at 1:30 p.m. It will be outdoors weather permitting, said even organizer Burt Mason.

Mason said he will say a few words, but no guest speakers are slated.

“It’s short and sweet,” Mason said. “The thought is much more important than the length.”

The Eagle River High choir will perform and Chugiak High junior ROTC will present the colors, he said.

The event is open to the public.

“It’s something for people to come say we still care,” Mason said.

• The Anchorage Fire Department will hold a commemoration at the site of the new Alaska Fallen Firefighters Memorial at 5th Avenue and A Street.

A procession of fire personnel and apparatus will precede the service at 12:45 p.m. The procession will start at 5th Avenue and Fairbanks Street and walk to the memorial site.

Governor Sean Parnell, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Joseph Masters are slated to speak at the event. Cpt. Ben Fleagle of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Fire Department will serve as keynote speaker.

The ceremony will conclude with the unveiling of a plaque in honor of fallen firefighter Andrew Mullen. The 45-year-old Eagle River resident died of renal cancer Oct. 11, 2010, which was attributed to his firefighting duties. Mullen’s workers’ compensation claim was the first awarded under 2006 legislation that singled out public-safety personnel.

Mullen proved his cancer was linked to years of exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, in particular car fires.

Mullen’s death was the fire department’s first in the line of duty since 1976.

“It’s not something we like to do, but we want to bring attention to Andy,” said Jason Dolph, Alaska Fallen Firefighter Memorial event coordinator.

Dolph said he was a close friend of Mullen. They shared the same job of apparatus engineer, he said.

Dolph said the event isn’t just for the Anchorage Fire Department.

“It’s really a state ceremony,” he said. “It will be a good representation of Alaska.”

The event will provide a good opportunity for the public to meet with firefighters from all over the state, Dolph said.

The approximately one-hour ceremony is standing room only.

Contact Mike Nesper at 830-6632 or [email protected]

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