While the world was still digesting the morning events of Sept. 11, 2001 that evening, the Needham Board of Selectmen decided to conduct their scheduled meeting, sending a message of hope and perseverance in the process.
Current selectmen Jerry Wasserman and Dan Matthews sat in the Selectmen Meeting Room of Needham Town Hall on that fateful night.
“For me,” Wasserman said at Tuesday night’s meeting, “the fact that we had a meeting that night was a demonstration of our town’s determination to move forward.”
A look at the agenda for that night’s meeting shows that things certainly were business as usual. A public hearing was held on the town’s AT&T contract, selectmen approved a transfer of license to a new manager at , and officials discussed the demolition of the Needham Cinema.
Current selectman John Bulian was not on the board in 2001, but he reflected Tuesday on the mood among Needham residents at the time.
“(9/11) was one of those events in our lives where you know where you were,” said Bulian. “Both of my boys were in elementary school at the time and my wife and I met them at the bus stop. Trying to explain what was going on in the world at the time was one of the hardest things that any family had to do that day.”
Most residents and town employees in Needham had a tough enough time coping with the day’s events from afar, but members of the Needham Fire Department had a first-hand look at the horrors in New York City. Many firefighters in town rushed down to Manhattan the minute they heard of the attacks in the hopes of aiding their fellow brethren with rescue and clean up efforts.
Fire Chief Paul Buckley was in attendance this week as selectmen discussed Sept. 11. Also in attendance was James Piersiak, who was officially introduced to the board as Fire Lieutenant, a fact in which selectmen chair Moe Handel found great symbolism.
“I think it is very fitting that we have an appointment on the agenda tonight where we are appointing a new firefighter, as they were the among the first responders. Thank you,” he directed to Buckley and Piersiak.
Selectmen also reflected on the
“We had the opportunity to participate in a very moving event in the community this past weekend,” Matthews said.
For the 2011 Needham Board of Selectmen, Sept. 11, 2001 will forever symbolize a time to remember, while also looking forwarded and continuing to live life.
“As we stay vigilant against attacks,” Wasserman said, “we must also stay vigilant about our democracy, because that’s our victory.”