Viking Association dedicates bell to members lost on 9/11
Second annual Viking Regatta sailboat race honors fallen brothers - Sunday, August 9, 2003.
Six Staten Island
members of the Fire Department's Viking Association, who died Sept. 11, 2001, were remembered yesterday when a Viking "Bell
of Remembrance" was dedicated at the Richmond County Yacht Club.
A 200pound golden
bell, cast with the six firefighters' names, was given to the Viking Association as a gift from the "Bell of Remembrance"
Project associated with the Franciscans of Wilmington, the McShane Bell Foundry and the Wilmington, DelawareWilmington
(Del.) Fire Department.
"We gather here
for four reasons to remember, to dedicate, bless and to celebrate," said Brother David Schlatter, chaplain of the Wilmington
Fire Department, who christened the bell. "We gather here to remember those who perished on that fateful day nearly two years
ago. We could not and we will not ever forget them."
The bell was
dedicated in memory of Arthur Barry and Eric Olsen, of Ladder Co. 15; Joseph Ogren, of Ladder Co. 3; John Bergin, of Rescue
Co. 5; Dennis O'Berg, of Ladder Co. 105 and James Riches, of Engine Co. 4.
"As we christen
this bell, in the name of these six men, these six firefighters, we ask their blessing as well and their protection of us,"
The bell will
be placed on Olsen's antique fire engine, currently being restored by the Milford, Township, Pennsylvania Fire Department
and will participate in parades and firefighter funerals, said Richard Dischinger, chairman of the regatta.
A Bell of Remembrance
was tolled in four sets of five rings, which is customary when a firefighter dies. Also, the Viking Bell was tolled once for
each of the six Viking Association members who perished.
"We can never
forget this devastation inflicted on our nation by this cowardly act," said Viking president Edward Thompson, who said it's
important to remember the "six fallen Viking brothers" and all those who died in the World Trade Center attacks. The Viking
Association consists of 400 active and retired firefighters, throughout the city, who are of Scandinavian descent.
Twenty boats participated in the regatta
course, which began at Orchard Lighthouse, went past Sandy Hook, N.J., then to the Rockaways and back again.
The race was held for the first time
last year and will become an annual event, Dischinger said.
"Its the yachting community's way
of saying we'll never forget," he said.
Commodore John R. Birstler, of the
yacht club, said the event a way to honor "the heroes of our nation's freedom.
"Today we're racing
for more than a mere trophy and a day of sailing on the bay," he said. "We sail to honor and show respect to our fallen heroes."
Reprint of Staten Island Advance Article 8/10/2003