Langley is playing host to a handful of first responders from the Big Apple – NY Police Department officers, paramedics, and firefighters who were at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The group was invited up north to participate in a special memorial service happening at the Peace Arch border crossing between Surrey and Blaine at 10 a.m. on Monday morning.
Emergency services from both sides of the 49th Parallel typically take part in this ceremony, including police, fire, paramedic, as well as border and customs officials, explained Lower Mainland firefighter and Langley resident Erik Vogel.
And, typically, a few New York City first responders, are invited to participate in the local event. Such is the case again this year.
A reception was held at Cascades Casino on Thursday for the U.S. visitors who are now across the border in Ferndale, today (Sunday), for a similar reception in Washington before taking part in Monday’s ceremony, Vogel said.
In the meantime, Vogel is working with fellow Langleyite, movie teamster, and picture car company owner Ian Thompson, of 911 Film Cars. He’s decked out a few vehicles with New York emergency decals – two Harley Davidson police motorcycles, two police cruisers, and a fire battalion chief truck – and will participate in a special 9-11 Memorial Ride leaving from the South Delta Baptist Church (1988 56th Ave.) at 8:30 a.m. Monday. The procession – made up primarily of motorcycles, a few vintage emergency vehicles, and Thompson’s vehicles will arrive at the border crossing about half an hour ahead of the ceremony.
Vogel is expecting many fellow emergency responders from Langley, as well as from throughout the Lower Mainland, to be part of both the ride and the memorial service tomorrow.
Close to 3,000 people were killed in 9-11, and thousands were injured. Many of those who perished were first responders. Others died in the years since, as a result of exposure, while yet hundreds of others still suffer today, he said.
This is a small way of paying tribute to all those men and women, Vogel concluded.
“Join us once again on the 16th anniversary memorial ride from South Delta Baptist Church to the Peace Arch, in honour of all those who lost and gave their lives on that tragic September 11th day,” said organizer and founder Guy Morrall says on his group’s Facebook page.
WATCH: Video from 2013 ride. Video by Jim and Linda Strathdee of 3D Red Carpet Events