TO commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios proclaimed September as “We Will Never Forget: Field of Heroes” Month.
“The events of Sept. 11, 2001 profoundly affected us all, showing our nation’s resilience in the face of tragedy, unifying and strengthening our resolve against global terrorism,” they said.
“We continue to offer support to the families who lost loved ones in the devastating events of that day through prayer and reflection,” they added.
The administration commended firefighters, police officers, and first responders who courageously risk their lives to rescue those in need and commend the ordinary citizens and volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time and talents to recovery efforts, as well as the military and veterans who continue to serve and defend the nation and freedom against terrorism.
U.S. flags were installed and will remain at American Memorial Park on Saipan until Thursday, Sept. 30; the Veterans Memorial Park on Tinian until Friday, Sept. 24; and at the Corporal Joe G. Charfauros Jr. Rota Veterans Memorial Park on Rota until Friday, Nov. 12, courtesy of the Tan Siu Lin Foundation in coordination with community partners.
“As these flags will be posted 24 hours a day, we shall remember the lives that were lost, honor the heroic actions taken by our firefighters, police officers, and first responders, and thank the military for their continued service and sacrifice,” the administration stated.
The community came together on Saturday, Sept. 11 for the “We Will Never Forget” motorcade at 9 a.m. to continue to honor, remember, and be thankful for the oath that was sworn by firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians, enforcement officers, first responders, military and veterans.
“The courage, heroism, and resilience Americans displayed on 9/11 are perpetual reminders of the spirit of our country,” the administration stated.
“We also express our appreciation to our CNMI first responders and military service members for being our everyday heroes during natural disasters, crises, and this global pandemic. We will never forget 9/11, and we will always remember that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave,” they said.
At the signing of the proclamation on Friday in the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium conference room, Governor Torres and Lt. Governor Palacios were joined by Northern Marianas Humanities Council Board Chair Tracy M. Guerrero, Tan Holdings President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Tan, other Tan Holdings and Tan Siu Lin Foundation representatives, and numerous first responders and military service members.
Awards were given to first responders with the American Red Cross, CNMI Customs and Quarantine, CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., Commonwealth Ports Police, Commonwealth Ports Authority Aircraft & Fire Fighting, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the Department of Public Safety, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Saipan Post 3457.
The Torres-Palacios administration thanked all first responders as well as all those who made the “Field of Heroes” possible, including the Northern Marianas Humanities Council, Tan Holdings, and the Tan Siu Lin Foundation.
“9/11 changed the world, even the way we travel,” Tan said. “The sacrifice that we always talk about is real. The firefighters who rushed into the World Trade Center, tried to save lives but I think most of them knew that they would probably die. But they still performed their jobs... I seldom interacted with first responders in the past, but the last six years, I think we have all found ourselves interacting and appreciating our first responders, not only because of 9/11, but because of the disasters [and] the pandemic, including our medical personnel,” he said.
“People tend to say, ‘I’m scared. I’m going to stay home.’ But if you look at the first responders at the airport, at the quarantine center, at the hospital, they go to work every day and the rest of us are safe. The sacrifices that the first responders make are real.”
He said it was Tan Holdings Vice President for Corporate Affairs/Human Resources Catherine Attao-Toves who suggested the idea of having a “Field of Heroes,” six years ago to honor first responders. It’s a memorial that Tan Holdings intends to continue for years to come, he said.
“We are very, very happy to be involved, to sponsor and to involve all three islands. It is very moving when you are there [at the memorials],” said Tan, adding that he and Tan Holdings join the community in thanking all first responders, including the 18 CNMI firefighters fighting wildfires on the U.S. mainland.