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9/11: Remembering those lost, honoring those who serve

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, September 15, 2018
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Solemn Day

SOLEMN DAY – Members of the Decatur Fire Department join other first responders and citizens in prayer at Tuesday’s Patriot Day Ceremony at the Wise County Veterans Memorial Park in Decatur. The day honored first responders killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and those who serve our communities today. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Tuesday was a day to both remember those who were lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and honor first responders who often find themselves in dangerous situations.

That was the central theme of the Patriot Day program held at the Wise County Veterans Memorial Park in Decatur.

Robb Hawkins, director of Hawkins Funeral Home, was the guest speaker for the event and talked about the importance of remembering what happened on that fateful day and the heroic actions of first responders.

Honoring the Fallen

HONORING THE FALLEN – A member of the Decatur Fire Department wears a black mourning band on his badge during Tuesday’s ceremony. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I wish to express our most sincere gratitude to all our first responders who demonstrate great courage and risk their lives daily to protect and serve all of our communities,” Hawkins said. “Our first responders represent the best of America. I find nothing more noble and righteous than selflessly risking life and limb to protect and defend every inhabitant of this great land. They demonstrate the greatest love of life, liberty and justice throughout this country.”

Nearly 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., 17 years ago.

Hawkins said the best way to honor the memory of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001, is to fight against those who still wish to cause Americans harm today.

“Let every American patriot agree to intervene against violence on the innocent and those who threaten the lives and security of our neighbors. Let us all be eternally vigilant to identify, expose and oppose all aggressive extremists who choose to demolish the peace we enjoy in this country,” he said.

The crowd at the event included numerous officers from local law enforcement agencies as well as members of local fire departments and EMS. It also included several members of the Wise County Veterans Group who hosted the event.

The Decatur Fire Department Honor Guard posted the colors during the ceremony. Jennifer Ward sang the national anthem and God Bless America.

Posting the Colors

POSTING THE COLORS – Members of the Decatur Fire Department Honor Guard post the colors at the Patriot Day ceremony. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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