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Community gathers in Geneva to remember 9/11 at annual ceremony

Days after the 9/11 monument vandal was apprehended by police, the city of Geneva congregated on a solemn and sunny Wednesday morning along Long Pier at Lakefront Park to remember and honor the lives of those lost during the terror attacks that transpired 18-years earlier on September 11th, 2001.

The ceremony saw many faces from Geneva and surrounding communities who valorized the nation’s finest first responders and helped lead the rest of America through the national tragedy, which has been considered as one of the darkest of days in America’s history and caused nearly 3,000 civilian deaths and counting.

Speakers and dignitaries alike celebrate the life and legacy of late City Councilor John Greco, his kindred memory, spirit and unparalleled public service to Geneva, especially his role in the creation and continuation of the annual memorial event.

Lucile Mallard who has frequently sung the National Anthem at previous ceremonies shared that she was hesitant in attending at-all but remembered her dear friend in Greco.

State Senator Pam Helming, R-54 and state Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb, R-131 also spoke at the event following Geneva Mayor Ronald L. Alcock’s brief remarks and issuance of a proclamation.

Senator Helming shared that the city’s monument embodies the “love and passion for this great country we have” and commented that any act of vandalism “does not distract” from the purpose of this day, a heartfelt tribute to those who sacrificed their lives physical or mental health for their fellow countrymen.

As for Assemblyman Kolb – the monument speaks volumes to local character. “It’s really a testament to Geneva,” he said. “John Greco would be very proud, because I think the crowds are getting bigger every year.”

Mario Fratto, a member of the Fratto family that funded and donated the 9/11 monument which was recently defaced, called for directing compassion and prayers toward the U.S. military veteran and her family.

“I know that person’s family. I would just like us all to pray for her and her family that she gets through this because they’re in a bad place right now,” Fratto said.

Recalling his parents’ immigration story from Italy, he tells that the Fratto family has found success in this nation following the Second War II.

For Fratto, 9/11 symbolized a call to action that demonstrated the nation’s resolve similar to those who served in World War II among the “Greatest Generation.”

“When the rest of the world runs the other way, we run toward the danger to help. These firefighters, police officers and EMTs gave their lives trying to save as many people as they could and they didn’t care what the people looked like or which passport their country was from,” Fratto added.

Below reads a transcription of the proclamation that was issued by Geneva Mayor Ronald L. Alcock on September 9th, 2019:

WHEREAS, eighteen years ago today, a bright autumn morning was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. Thousands of innocent men, women and children perished when the twin towers collapsed in the heart of New York City and wreckage burned in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon; and

WHEREAS, on September 11, 2001, amid shattered glass, twisted steel and clouds of dust, the spirit of America came through. Strangers and first responders rushed to the aid of their fellow Americans with no regard for their own safety; and

WHEREAS, today and forever, those who made the ultimate sacrifice will be remembered in the history of our great nation. As we mark another anniversary of that tragic day, and we remember the sacrifices of those who rose in service during the rescue and recovery efforts, we join in serving causes greater than ourselves; and

WHEREAS, we must honor those we lost by sending reminders of the ways that the victims of 9/11 live on; in the people they loved, the lives they touched, and the courageous acts they inspired.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ron Alcock, Mayor of the City of Geneva, New York issue this proclamation to memorialize the innocent people who perished in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. From the tragedy of September 11th, our nation emerged with a renewed spirit of national pride and a true love of country.

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– Reporting & Photos by Gabriel Pietrorazio

An undergraduate student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Pietrorazio has written for the Town Times of Watertown, Connecticut and Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, New York. He’s currently a reporter for FL1 News, and can be reached at [email protected].