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Sheriff Hodgson gives powerful speech during Fall River 9/11 ceremony

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Photo courtesy of Bristol County Sheriff's Office

The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office was on hand for the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony at Battleship Cove in Fall River on Friday morning. Sheriff Hodgson and Col. Gavigan spoke, joining Fall River Mayor Coogan, City of Fall River Police Department Chief Cardoza, Fall River Fire Department Chief Lynch and others in remembering the victims and honoring first responders.

The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office released a copy of Sheriff Hodgson’s speech from Friday morning.

“I remember it like it was yesterday.

That feeling of comfort … of safety … of control.

I remember getting through airport security in 3 minutes. Remember when kids were allowed to check out the cockpit of a plane in the middle of a flight?
I remember being at a counter terrorism conference and thinking “this is a nice training, but there’s no way this could ever happen.”

September 11th changed everything.

The horrible events that claimed so many lives and altered so many more ushered in a new normal. Safety and security took a larger place in the national echelon. Screening to enter an airport or public building was increased. Law enforcement agencies, no matter how big or small, shared information and intelligence with one another.

And as much as I’ll never forget what the world was like before 9/11, I’ll never forget the unity and compassion in the aftermath.

I led a team of volunteers from the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office to ground zero in the days after. And just as the smell of burning flesh or the sight of bones and twisted steel is imprinted in my memory, so is the cheers and gratitude of New Yorkers lining the street to thank us for coming to their aid.
Former Mayor Rudy Guiliani said it best years ago, commenting that in the attacks, we saw the worst of humanity, but in the aftermath, we also saw the best.

It’s a good lesson to remember right now as I look out at a much smaller crowd that is usually gathered here at battleship cove on 9/11. The COVID pandemic has taken quite a toll on our neighborhoods. Lives have been lost. Businesses shuttered. So many have sacrificed so much in this public health crisis.

My challenge to everyone out there is to treat the aftermath of COVID like we treated Sept. 12, 2001. Let’s use this crisis and make something positive out of it.

Perform an act of kindness for your neighbor. Pay better attention to your health and well-being. Look out for others. Be cautious and kind. Thank a police officer, firefighter, nurse or paramedic. Hold the door for the person after you.

Our nation is full of great people who do great things every day, some big and some small. Let’s seize the latest challenge thrown at us, overcome it and grow from it to be a stronger and kinder country.

Finally, I urge everyone today to say a silent prayer in their hearts for all the people who lost their lives on 9/11 and in the years after, from the passengers on the jets to the workers in the towers to the first responders who rushed to the scene.

May they rest in peace and may their memory live on in us forever.”

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