At last week’s Walden Village Board meeting, Ralph Garrison stepped up to the podium to address the village board.
“Something happened that really irritated me,” said Garrison, who identified himself as a 33-year village resident, except for time spent in military service. “We only do a 9-11 ceremony every five years? I don’t think that’s acceptable.”
The village board has recently made the decision to hold a ceremony every five years, coinciding with five-year anniversaries of the 9-11 event, with the next one planned for the 25th anniversary in 2026. That was after a somewhat testy debate when some board members claimed they were unaware that one had been scheduled for this year without their consent.
“We have car shows every year,” said Garrison. “Why is 9-11 every five years? That’s not acceptable for anybody, let alone New York.”
Village Trustee Lynn Thompson, who spoke in favor of five-year intervals at an earlier meeting, assured the audience that none of the board members will ever forget 9-11.
“It was a horrible horrible event and I don’t see how anyone can forget,” Thompson said.
But, she added, nobody complained in 2018 or 2019 when no ceremony was held in the village square. Nor was there one in the Covid pandemic year of 2020. The ceremony was reinstituted last year on the 20th anniversary of the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001.
And this year, trustees claimed to be unaware of a planned 9-11 observance, until they saw a flyer several days in advance of the scheduled event, and learned that it had been authorized by Mayor John Ramos. That’s what prompted the debate at a prior meeting and led to a vote to hold the observance only once every five years.(Ramos and Trustee Patricia Maher, who preferred the event be an annual observance, voted no.)
Maher said she is still in favor of holding a ceremony annually.
Ramos said this year’s ceremony was funded by an anonymous donor, at no cost to the village.
“I don’t recall in 2017 that we voted for every five years,” the mayor said. “There’s nothing in the minutes.”
Thompson suggested that perhaps the Walden Fire Department could sponsor the event every year.