Galesburg remembers 9/11 and honors fallen local firefighters

The City of Galesburg has once again remembered those who lost their lives due to the worst terrorist attack on American soil — 18 years ago Wednesday.

The firefighters memorial at the Galesburg Central Fire Station provided the backdrop…and Fire Chaplain Glen Bocox provided an important message to the heroes in attendance — fire, police, EMS, and dispatch workers.

“Never say ‘That won’t happen to me.  Life has a funny way of proving us wrong,'” says Bocox, quoting a saying he found on social media.  “If there is anything certain about life, it is that life is filled with uncertainties.  You in emergency services, you know that all too well.”

It’s seemingly once again en vogue for some to criticize the work that police and other emergency personnel do.  But new Galesburg Police Chief Russ Idle says, maybe some of those criticizing should think again.

“What is done by these fine people of service is dangerous, and something we need to cherish every moment of,” says Idle.  “In these hyper-polarizing times of social media and the 24 hour news cycle, sometimes it’s hard to remember that we’re all Americans.  We have a lot more that brings us together than separates us.  We’re all God’s people, no matter what we look like, where we come from, what we believe, or what our principles are, as far as politics or things like that.”

The Fire Department also used the occasion to unveil plaques at the memorial honoring the two local firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty: Frederich Sunderlin in 1871 after the old Union Hotel caught fire; and John Slater in 1904, when Galesburg High School, then downtown, was destroyed by fire.