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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"September 11"

ALBANY, Sept. 10 -- One piece of legislation I sponsored earlier this year, as chairman
of the Senate Elections Committee, was a measure to change the date of this week’s Primary Day from Tuesday, September 11, 2012 to Thursday, September 13 in order to recognize and fully respect the significance of this year’s anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Not
surprisingly, it was overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature and swiftly signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. It’s just one more example of our nation’s deep-rooted desire to forever honor the lives lost on September 11, 2001. That’s as it should be.

For each and every American generation, there are days and dates that become forever etched in the national consciousness. The attack on Pearl Harbor, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. come to mind as examples.

And so while this year’s 9/11 observances arrive in the midst of a presidential election season here in New York State and across America, it simply cannot be overshadowed. It’s a day, most of us believe, that must always remain a day of remembrance and honor. Three months after the September 11th attacks, President George W. Bush said in a speech to the nation, “We will remember where we were and how we felt…And in our time we will honor the memory of the 11th day by doing our duty as citizens of this great country, freedom’s home and freedom’s defender.”

September 11th is recalled as one of our nation’s darkest, most shattering days. Yet it’s also recalled as a day when Americans, everywhere, were bound together in mourning and outrage, perseverance and strength – and an overwhelming desire to somehow respond. This undeniable national spirit has carried on and will be on display again this week in services in so many American communities.

We see it, maybe most of all, within the respect we carry for our police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other first responders. Not long ago in this column, in fact, I had the opportunity to express a collective thanks to all of the men and women who responded in the aftermath of the tornado that struck Elmira and several surrounding communities in late July. It bears repeating here that we must always raise a heartfelt salute to all of our local police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders for their immediate, courageous and capable first response and dedication. We’re always reminded, it seems, that our communities are truly fortunate to have these men and women constantly on guard and standing ready to protect our lives and property, safety and security.

And we see it in our ongoing expressions of gratitude and respect for our veterans, and the servicemen and servicewomen serving at this very moment to protect and promote freedom here at home, and around the world.

Last September arrived with the opening of the National September 11 Memorial in New York City, on the now sacred ground where the Twin Towers once stood. This memorial takes its place among other national sites memorializing the sacrifices and the tragedies which mark our nation, places like Gettysburg and other Civil War battlefields, and the powerful remembrances of World War II, Korea and Vietnam that define our nation’s capital.

You can read these words -- and many others -- on the National September 11 Memorial website ( “The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The pools sit
within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood…a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.”

We must always honor September 11th. These remembrances are important – to honor the memory of the fallen, to rekindle the heroism of those who responded, and to reenergize the spirit of resolve that has helped our nation recover.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869