BURLINGTON - This year’s remembrance of 9/11 on Burlington’s Town Common will be as special as any ceremony ever held on the grounds.

Sept. 11, 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of that harrowing day in the United States.

On smaller occasions, the town has always remembered 9/11 with the Burlington Police and Fire Departments, and Town Hall employees, which would be culminated with a more populated ceremony every five years.

Select Board member Robert Hogan, who is also director of Veterans Services in Burlington, revealed to the Select Board that a name is going to be added to the plaque at the 9/11 Memorial on Town Common.

“We are going to add Burlington native Ryan Fortini to the plaque,” confirmed Hogan.

Fortini, a graduate of the Burlington High School class of 1995, died on New Year’s Day in 2020 from cancer related to his recovery work in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. He was a retired New York State Trooper, and only 42 when he died. While serving 16 years as a New York State Trooper, Fortini was assigned to search-and-recovery efforts as part of the New York State Police detail.

“Ryan will be commemorated and remembered for his life and service, not only to his country but to his community and the state of New York,” Hogan poignantly stated.

Burlington lost several residents on that day 20 years ago. The town lost four people in the attacks, including pilot Thomas F. McGuinness, Jr., former BHS football coach Jim Trentini and his wife Mary Trentini, and Robert Jay Hayes. To honor their memory the town constructed a 9/11 Memorial on the Town Common with the names of the people lost that day and a plaque that reads "Always Flying High." This is where Fortini’s name will be located on his own plaque.

Burlington also lost a son in Operation Iraqi Freedom. L/Cpl Greg MacDonald died on June 25, 2003 while serving his country in Iraq when the light armored vehicle he was traveling in rolled over. 

Wreaths will be placed at the 9/11 Memorial in honor of those Burlington residents lost 20 years ago.

This year’s ceremony will also include the unveiling of a new patio that has been built around the 9/11 Memorial, which includes two rails that were removed from beneath the World Trade Center standing side-by-side on Burlington’s Town Common.

The Select Board expressed gratefulness for the many Burlington residents who have donated their time and funds to see the 9/11 Memorial come to fruition. The board didn’t waste a second, and unanimously approved the use of Town Common for the 20-year anniversary ceremony of 9/11. It is expected to start by 9 a.m.

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