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HALFMOON: Residents gather for somber memorial

The sun didn't dare break through the gray New York sky on Tuesday afternoon because for some, that equally gray Tuesday morning six years ago still feels like yesterday.

Halfmoon commemorated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at a Tuesday ceremony across from town hall at the town's 9/11 memorial. Dozens of volunteer firefighters formed a semi-circle around the memorial as about 50 residents stood and remembered the dead.

One of those Halfmoon residents was State Trooper Don Baker Jr., who was shot last August by Ralph Bucky Phillips during the fugitive's six-month manhunt. Phillips pleaded guilty in December to the murder of Trooper Joseph Longobardo and the attempted murder of Baker, and is currently serving life in prison without parole.

Baker said that he was honored to be asked to light a ceremonial candle at the event.

"It's very emotional to see everybody gather and knowing the lives that were lost as far as fire and police and to just come out and support each other," Baker said. "Sept. 11 is such an important day."

Regarding his recovery, he said that he's training at a gym and feels great.

"I'm doing what I can do, which is pretty good," he said. "A little weight training, a little bit of running."

Also at the event were two fire trucks, one of which hoisted a large American flag 50 feet in the air over the crowd, as well as Boy Scouts Troop 30, which raised and lowered the American and 9/11 Commemoration flags at the memorial.

Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth hosted the event.

"We have come together today to remember the victims, the heroes and the ones who lost loved ones on this date six years ago today, to pay tribute to those who paid the price by innocently going about their everyday activities," Wormuth said. "Let us not forget the price we paid."

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