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‘It’s emotional in a lot of ways’ Evanstonians, elected officials and first responders gather for Sept. 11 – Chicago Tribune

Rain held off until the end of City of Evanston Patriot Day Remembrance Ceremony on Sept. 11 in Evanston at Fireman’s Park.

What appeared to be a cold front came through with a gust of wind causing the American flag to briefly and dramatically unfurl behind Sept. 11 survivor Mark Shore of Edgewater who grew up in Evanston and is also of the Evanston Township High School Class of 1982.

The unexpected moment preceded the performance of taps on bugle by Murray Gordon of Evanston, the ceremonial ringing of the silver bell and the tone out, signifying a radioed moment of honorarium.

People opened up umbrellas by the end of the ceremony. Rain became heavier right at the ceremony’s complete conclusion as people scattered to their cars or other locations for cover.

Shore, who moved to New York City in 1998, and was working in an office in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center on that Sept. 11 Tuesday, told the audience of seeing first responders arriving at the scene while Shore was exiting the building. They were coming to the danger and not running from it, Shore remembers.

Shore reported seeing people coming together and “that the city was really supporting each other.

“There were fundraisers all over the city,” Shore said. “There were people volunteering for basically anything.”

Trumpeter Murray Gordon brought two instruments in a carrying case in the event one of them failed, a silver trumpet with valves and a bugle which plays in one key. Gordon chose the rust colored bugle for the taps performance.

“It is something that I did a long time ago in the army,” Gordon said, of playing taps during military service years. Gordon today volunteers to perform taps for official assignments.

During taps, “I close my eyes and I think of a couple of friends that were lost in Vietnam,” said Gordon, who also thinks of others that were, “probably wonderful people.”

“I don’t allow myself to become desensitized to it,” added Gordon, who indicated being active in the US Army in 1970 and 1971, serving later years in the reserves.

“In other words,” Gordon said of taps duty, “it’s not just another music performance.”

The honor guard presented the posting of the colors with the invocation provided by Pastor Monte Dillard, Evanston Fire Department chaplain and Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, Evanston Police Department chaplain.

Attending the ceremony were local elected officials, including Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss.

“Why is it that we remember so viscerally where we were and how we felt on Sept. 11th 21 years ago?” bite said. “And I think that part of the answer there is because something really fundamentally changed. We became more interconnected and relying upon one another in that moment. And then, in the wake of that moment, all kinds of things occurred that obligated us to look out for one another, and help one another.”

Interim Evanston Chief of Police Richard Eddington and Evanston Fire Chief Paul Polep told the Evanston Review where they were on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I was working my second job up in McHenry,” Polep recalled. “I was in a day room, watching the news and that’s when it all started,” Polep said.

At the time, Polep worked full time in Evanston but also spent time in McHenry working on call hours.

“As we were getting our day ready, all the news hit. It was just unbelievable, like, is this really happening, right?” Polep recalled. “The question that every single person asked, ‘Is this really happening? What’s going on?’”

Eddington was working on that day as, “the newly minted police chief in Mount Prospect, had been there only a short period of time when the planes hit the towers,” he recalled.

“I remember the fire chief and I going to all the schools in Mount Prospect, sharing with the principals and superintendents the information that we had, and the concerns that we had, and dealing with their reactions to the situation,” Eddington said. “At a different level, it was a very intense day as the country began to realize the gravity of the situation.”

He spoke of his extreme appreciation for the men and women of the police and fire service of Evanston, especially on such a solemn occasion.

“It’s emotional in a lot of ways,” Eddington said. “The commitment that these individuals show to the community is of paramount importance.”

Karie Angell Luc is a freelance reporter with Pioneer Press.

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