Americans cannot and should not shake the memory of that awful morning seven years ago today when a group of fanatics took control of four commercial airliners, crashing two of them into New York's World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon.
On that day in 2001 most Americans pledged to "Never Forget." Andover — a small town that felt direct and profound effect from that day — keeps that promise in part with a simple but meaningful ceremony each Sept. 11 morning meant to honor those lost on Sept. 11, 2001. Particularly remembered are those with Andover ties, including: Andover High graduate Christopher Morrison, 34, who was working on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center, Tower 1, when the planes struck; resident Millie Naiman, 81, who was going to visit family; resident Betty Ong, 45, a flight attendant on one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center; and Len Taylor, 44, an Andover native traveling on the plane that struck the Pentagon.
Also honored at the ceremony is Haverhill native Army Pfc. Evan O'Neill, who was 19 when he was killed in Afghanistan fighting after his platoon was called to help another in a firefight. His father, Mike O'Neill, is a lieutenant with the Andover Fire Department.
Dozens of Andover residents have followed Evan O'Neill into military service since Sept. 11, 2001.
Today, we remember that day seven years ago and think of the families most directly affected.
Simple steps to stop crime
Andover residents expect a lot from their police. We can give them a fighting chance to keep crime low by taking the most basic crime-preventing actions: locking doors and hiding valuables that we must leave in our unattended cars.
Take a look at the police log any week, and you'll see that Andover residents call police for a variety of problems besides the expected crime and accidents. Residents ask police to do everything from stopping kids from ringing doorbells to removing yogurt cups from skunks' heads. Really - the prank was reported Saturday, Sept. 6, the skunk on Sept. 4 — and nearly identical incidents have happened many times before.
Car breaks remain among the most consistent crime problems in Andover. A string of them was reported the morning after Labor Day in neighborhoods off Bailey Road, west of Interstate 93. As residents went to leave for work Tuesday morning, Sept. 2, many found their vehicles had been broken into overnight, and items had been stolen.
Incidents of theft and break-ins were reported on Wellington Circle, Langley Lane, Old School House Road, Ashford Lane, Belle Haven Drive and Ellsworth Road, streets within one mile of each other. Many of these cars weren't locked, Andover Police Lt. Thomas Siopes told reporter Bethany Bray.
"They're looking for electronics and cash," he said of the thieves. "Lock your doors. If you have a GPS hide it, keep it in your trunk."
It's a pretty simple and common-sense solution to some of the opportunistic crime. People can't be fooled by the peaceful look of Andover into believing that the wealthy town with easy access to Interstate 93 and Route 495 is not a target of criminals.
Taking simple steps will protect more valuables. And it will leave police with more time for other calls, whether they are crime- or skunk-related.