Clinton Honors Its Flight 93 Hero
“You are pulled from the wreckage, Of your silent reverie, You're in the arms of the angel, May you find some comfort here.’’
Those lyrics sung by the Clinton High School Chamber Singers from the Sarah McLachlan song ‘Angel’ hung word by word around the Clinton Central School District Foundation Memorial Brick Garden.
As the mask-clad singers each sang a line, the people standing around the Garden felt the weight of the words McLachlan wrote about finding peace.
The song, part of a one-hour ceremony Friday night at the Garden, honored CCS Class of 1977 graduate Edward Porter Felt and the other 39 people who died 19 years earlier that Sept. 11 day when their United Flight 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa.
More than just a memorial tribute, the event served also for the unveiling of the Sept. 11 Memorial at the Garden in honor of Felt and those other victims. Almost two years of work by the local Sept. 11 Edward Porter Felt Memorial Committee culminated when Felt’s mother Shirley and brother Gordon Felt pulled away the draping over the monument.
As Committee Chairman Allyn ‘Skip’ Beardsell described, the Dakota granite bench, built in Vermont, is etched with a dedication to Edward Felt. Embedded under the bench is a stone from the crash site. An explanatory panel about Sept. 11, 2001, United 93 and Felt is nearby.
CCS Superintendent Dr. Stephen Grimm, who with Peter Goodfriend, Bill Huther, Frank Perretta, Paul Riley and Gordon Felt, comprised the committee, welcomed people to the honor for one of their own. “Edward Porter Felt is our hometown hero,’’ he said.
Felt joined others on the flight to resist the terrorists attempts to take over the plane and use it as a target to hit either the White House or the U.S. Capitol. They did push into the cockpit, but the hijackers crashed the plane before the passengers could take full control.
Father John Croghan, of St. Mary’s Church and the Clinton Fire Department, welcome everyone with an opening prayer, calling on them to be present in the moment.
Presentation of colors was done by the Junior ROTC from Notre Dame High School, Clark Mills American Legion, Helmuth-Ingalls American Legion and Clinton VFW. Fire departments from Clark Mills, Clinton, Deansboro, New Hartford and Westmoreland provided Honor Guards throughout the ceremony.
Beardsell talked about Felt, remembered as a smart and quiet Clinton student. He went on to attend Colgate and Cornell universities then began his career in computer technology. He had scheduled a business trip to San Francisco on a flight that left near his home in New Jersey Sept. 11, 2001.
Beardsell said the idea for a memorial to Felt came up during the regular coffee gatherings he, Huther, Riley and Goodfriend, all retired …