Scene & Heard: Islanders commemorate lives lost on 9/11

A candlelit ceremony was held at Vashon Island Fire & Rescue’s Station 55.

At dusk on the evening of Sept. 11, a candlelit ceremony was held at Vashon Island Fire & Rescue’s Station 55, in front of VIFR’s 9/11 memorial, to commemorate the losses that occurred in the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.

The memorial is constructed of several pieces of columnar basalt from the Columbia River Basin, one of which holds a steel piece from the Twin Towers, a reminder of the destruction of that day.

The vigil began with the sound of bagpipes, played by islander Ella Yarkin, as Fire Chief Matt Vinci and uniformed members of VIFR flanked the memorial.

Approximately 40 islanders attended the ceremony, including a uniformed officer from the King County Sheriff’s Office.

In remarks, Vinci recited the mournful litany of loss: 2,977 lives ended on 9/11 in New York City, the Pentagon, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and aboard American Airlines and United Airlines flights.

These included 343 Fire Department New York (FDNY) members, 23 New York Police Department members, and 37 members of the Port Authority Police.

Since 2001, he said, 2835 additional lives have been lost to 9/11 illnesses, including the deaths of 341 FDNY members since the attacks.

“What better way to honor the memory of the fallen from 9/11 and those who have succumbed since that tragic day, than to commit to service,” he said. “For in service, we can find resiliency. We are committed to serving our island, and as leaders, we are committed to taking care of those who serve.”

He closed his remarks with a quotation by the Roman poet Virgil, etched on the 9/11 museum memorial wall in New York City: “No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time.”

“VIFR will gather here every 9/11 to always remember and never forget,” he said.

See The Beachcomber’s online edition, at, to read a commentary by Fire Commissioner Brigitte Schran Brown, reflecting on the lessons learned from 9/11.