“A healed scar remains. We truly want to forget, but we need to remember,” Fire Chief of the Palm Coast Fire Department Michael Beadle said. Beadle led the Fallen Heroes commemoration at Heroes Memorial Park on Palm Coast Parkway, Friday, Sept. 11. Palm Coast residents gathered to remember the fateful day when many lives were lost in the falling of New York Cities World Trade Center. A Parade of Flags was led by Saint Augustine’s Ancient City Pipes and Drums with Honor Guards from local law enforcement and fire departments. The Choral Arts Society sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “Amazing Grace.” Retired Captain Joe Masters and Chief Michael Beadle, both of the Palm Coast Fire Department, led the Bell Ceremony in honor of the deceased. A presentation of wreaths was held by Mayor Jon Netts and the City Council for honored guests.
Remarks were made by retired NYPD Police Officer Arnie Roma. Roma received an urgent call from his son Keith the day the World Trade Center fell. After explaining the situation Keith urged his father to immediately come to help rescue efforts. Arnie arrived at the South Tower and began helping people to safety. “I heard a rumbling like trains. I closed my eyes and told myself to go to sleep, it will all be over soon. At that moment there was no panic nor fear, I was completely calm and at peace with myself.” After the building collapsed and Arnie realized he was still alive, yet buried under 100 stories worth of ruble, he then began to panic. He scrambled for his mask and breathed deep. The air was so chocked with ash and debris he experienced his first asthma attack. A fellow police officer with Arnie eventually found a hole in the ruble and the two made it out alive.
Shortly after escaping, the North Tower fell and Arnie attempted to shield nearby civilians with his gear. He managed to make it out of the disaster with only a broken arm and bruised ribs. His wife, Rosemary, received a call ensuring Roma was alive. She had to ask the dreadful question, “Which one?”
Keith Roma New York City firefighter was killed while rescuing civilians trapped in the World Trade Center. His remains were recovered and brought home on Christmas Day in 2001. “Christmas was our son’s favorite time of the year. It was our way of knowing Keith made it home for the holidays,” Roma said.
Many Americans have similar heart-wrenching stories of lost loved ones from the fall of the twin towers. September 11 is an opportunity to pay tribute to those Americans who lost their lives and those who sacrificed themselves to save others.