Americans well remember that fateful day and the targets that were hit including the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania and how the nation’s firefighters, police officers, EMTs and other emergency response personnel stepped up to the plate to rescue victims of these attacks on American soil.
The ceremony was held on the steps of the Cherokee County Courthouse as emergency responders from the Rescue Squad, EMS Ambulance service, each of the local law enforcement agencies and the 13 volunteer fire departments made their way down Main Street for the 2012 911 Remembrance Ceremony.
“We want to welcome you all here,” said Centre Fire Chief Kevin Ware.
“We also want to say a special welcome to the men and women of Dekalb County. We thank you for coming.”
“On this, the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took so many lives of men and women, I would like to remind the citizens of Cherokee and Dekalb counties that we have heroes right here in our own community,” said Ware.
“These are the brave men and women who serve in the voluntary fire and rescue services. They are ordinary people that do extraordinary things at extraordinary times.”
“In the Bible, John 15:13 tells us, ‘Greater Love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend,”’ said Ware. “First responders are reminded of this daily as they answer their radios or their pages, not knowing what lies in store for them.”
“This ceremony is to honor those who have shown that ultimate measure of love and to thank those who continue to do one of the most dangerous jobs in the world,” said Ware.
Nick Whorton with the Centre First Department delivered the invocation.
The Cherokee County Association of Volunteer Firefighters’ Honor Guard presented the colors as the Cherokee County High School Band performed the National Anthem. Ceremony participants and spectators then joined in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, which was at half-mast.
“Eleven years ago to date, on a cool, quiet September morning, much like this one, many mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends and neighbors went to work just like any other day,” said Rich Lindsey with the McCords Fire Department.
“Some high atop the New York City skyline, others to the Pentagon and the nation’s capital,” said Lindsey. “Some boarded a plane to travel for business or pleasure. Many went to the fire stations not knowing what emergencies they would face. Some went to their police precinct to do their part to battle crime and keep order in their respective cities. In a matter of minutes, their lives changed forever. All of our lives changed forever.”
“Since that September morning, many brave men and women have served abroad to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy in America,” said Lindsey. “Many firefighters, paramedics and police officers have bravely returned to their duties, ready and willing, whatever the call may be. Many perished that day and many since. That is the reason that each year on Patriots Day we come together as first responders and as a community to honor all of those who served before us and to pay tribute to all of those who currently serve or will carry on the tradition. We remember the 3,173 innocent victims of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. 11 years ago and the families of those victims. Of those who lost their lives, 343 were firefighters and paramedics and 60 were police officers.”
“We as first responders ask this day that you take a little time to say a prayer for the first responders in your community and to the men and women of the Armed Forces,” said Lindsey. “Additionally we ask that you pray for our country.”
“Though our freedom was attacked 11 years ago, it cannot and will not be taken away,” said Lindsey.
Lindsey then read The 343.
“Ask any firefighter and they will say and the brotherhood agrees,” read Lindsey. “We know that day and it will not go away when we lost our 343.”
“Where were you when the towers came down?” he read. “The cry will be heard through the years.”
“Where were you when the Twin Towers fell and we realized our worst fears? Many have forgotten and gone about their way. Some believe it is just another September Day, school in session, football season, Fall in the air.”
“Eleven long years ago, nothing to despair.”
“But ask any firefighter and they will know the day, time and the year.”
“For those of us who fight smoke and fire and have not time for fear. We know that day and it won’t go away when we lost the 343.”