“Every anniversary of 9/11 is still a very emotional time,” says Doug Lein, retired Saugeen Shores Police Officer, “and this, the 20th anniversary, is especially moving.”
In Ontario, a team of 12 police officers, including Lein, offered its services known as Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance (POPPA), and that included two police constables from Owen Sound, who travelled to what became known as ‘ground zero”.
At the time, Lein was with York Regional Police. “We were there to provide critical and stress counselling and debriefing to New York Police Department (NYPD) officers. We were head-quartered on the 13th floor of the Federal Reserve Bank and worked in several locations, including St. Paul’s Cathedral next to ground zero.”
One of the most emotional moments, according to Lein, was in the ‘memorial tent’ area. “There were flowers and photos along with messages asking where loved ones were.”
“The entire time we were there was very moving,” added Lein. “We also received a wonderful welcome and treatment the whole time.”
All of the team members signed their names on a Canadian flag that was hung in the NYPD office at the Reserve Bank. “It’s a time I will always remember,” says Lein.
Today, September 11th, is known as ‘Patriot Day’ and, where the twin towers once stood, is an eight-acre park that consists of two reflecting pools with waterfalls designed by Michael Ara and that is known as Reflecting Absence. At “Reflecting Absence”, the names of all the victims are engraved on 152 bronze panels surrounding the pools.