About 70 people attended Gloucester’s afternoon service, sponsored by Detachment 1317 of the Marine Corps League, and held in front of the new courthouse. That evening, American Legion Post 83 held its annual Veterans Day Dinner and Awards Program at the post headquarters in Hudgins, with about 60 taking part.
Lieutenant commander Justin Whitt, senior Naval Science Instructor at Gloucester High School, was guest speaker for Gloucester’s service, taking a few moments to remember Sept. 11, 2001 and the lives that were lost in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania that day.
"Once the buildings had collapsed and the immensity of the attack began to register, most of us had no idea of what to do or where to turn," Whitt said. "As a nation, we were scared like we had not been scared for generations."
He said many others in the nation embraced each other for comfort and others sat in front of their televisions paralyzed from utter disbelief.
A small segment of other Americans, Whitt said, made very different choices, "actions the rest of America stood in awe of on 9/11 and every day since."
"The first were our firefighters and police, their ranks decimated that day, as they ran towards—not away—from danger and certain death," Whitt said. "They were doing what they’d sworn to do, ‘to protect and to serve,’ and went to their graves having fulfilled their sacred oath."