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CNY Senior Reflects On 20 Years Since The 9/11 Attacks At DeWitt Memorial

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Scott Willis
Seniors from The Hearth at Greenpoint pose for a photo in front of the DeWitt 9/11 memorial. Paulette Pertgen is at center in an American flag shirt.

Central New Yorkers will be joining others around the nation and the world reflecting on the 20 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.  Some may attend a remembrance service; others may visit a memorial monument like the one in front of DeWitt Town Hall.  WAER News stopped by when residents of a senior living center were paying a visit.

The Hearth at Greenpoint in Liverpool brought a handful of seniors to the monument, including Paulette Pertgen. She was having a busy shift as an RN in a Glens Falls Hospital when the attacks happened.

"At about 11:00 am, my supervisor came to find me to tell me that if my patients were upset, they were working on getting volunteers to come in and talk to them. I said, 'Upset about what?' She said, 'You don't know happened this morning?' I said no. She asked, 'Your patients haven't been watching TV?' I said no. Then she pulled us aside to a room so we could watch the TV so we knew what was going on. 'Is this really true?' was my first thought. It was a little hard to believe that it actually happened."

Pertgen says her nephew spent nearly his entire 20 year army career in Afghanistan. It was just less than two weeks ago when US forces departed the country.

"We shouldn't have been there that long. I also truthfully believe that this country has got to start worrying about itself and not worrying about us taking care of the rest of the world."

She gets a little emotional thinking about those who lost loved ones on that day..

"It's nice to see the memorial. It's nice that people are remembering," Pertgen said, pausing to collect herself.

"It's difficult."


The City of Syracuse will hold its annual 9/11 ceremony Saturday at Fayette Firefighter’s memorial park to mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack. Mayor Ben Walsh, County Executive Ryan McMahon, and the city police and fire chiefs will be on hand to honor the nearly 3,000 lives lost, including first responders. The program begins at 8:30, and 17 minutes of silence will begin at 8:46, marking the time between the attacks on the World Trade Center towers.


Onondaga Community college is hosting a brief ceremony Saturday to remember two members of the OCC family who died as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Alumnus Wendy Faulkner died at the World Trade Center on September 11th. And, Campus Security Officer Dennis Burgos contracted lung cancer after working for several weeks at ground zero as a state trooper. He died in 2017. The ceremony begins at 10 am at the college's 9/11 memorial site outside the Whitney Applied Technology Center near the traffic circle.

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Scott Willis