As we are too painfully aware, the horrific events of September 11, 2001, shall forever be etched in our memories.

In the early morning hours on a beautiful September day, terrorists had carried out the most despicable, unprovoked attacks on our United States of America – first in New York City, then on Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Three thousand innocent men and women perished at terrorists’ hands, seven of whom were from Utica, New Hartford, Barneveld, and nearby towns:

- Thomas Duffy, 52.

- Margaret Echtermann, 33.

- Edward P. Felt, 41.

- Valerie Hanna, 57.

- Don J. Kauth, 51.

- Michael O’Brien, 42.

- Michele Reed, 26.

On this solemn 15th anniversary of these attacks, Mayor Robert M. Palmieri will respectfully lay the Wreath of Remembrance at the 9/11 Memorial statue on the Parkway at Sherman Drive.

Each family member or representative will be presented with a red rose to lay at the base of the statue.

The names of 343 firefighters, who willingly sacrificed their lives, knowing they would never survive, will be read aloud by volunteers from the community.

Each name of the 23 New York City and 37 Port Authority Police Officers, who also made the ultimate sacrifice to rescue trapped World Trade Center victims, will be read aloud by volunteers from the community.

Chaplain Mychal Judge also gave his life while giving Last Rites to firefighters and police officers before entering that blazing inferno.

We look forward to the community's attendance at this ceremony to honor the memory of the 9/11 victims, and in gratitude for the volunteers who risked their lives and health on search-and-rescue efforts on the most horrific day in recent American history.

It is our hope that each and every family may find solace and peace in the knowledge that their loved ones shall always be remembered.

Russell Brooks is fire chief for the City of Utica.