We will remember
In honor and remembrance of the terrorist attack against the United States, more than 100 people gathered at Independent Fire Company in Ranson Sunday morning.
The fire company began hosting the annual event the first year following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon to honor and remember those who gave their lives that day.
Dr. Henry Christie, event organizer, said, “We pause today to remember those killed in the attacks.” He went on to explain that three sets of five bells are rung at the start and end of the ceremony signifying the loss of life of a firefighter.
In addition to firefighters, of which there were 343 lost in the attacks, Christie explained that hats on the table near the podium represented other groups who lost lives that day. The United and American airlines caps were for the civilians lost. Over 2,500 deaths were reported between New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania where a third plane was forced to the ground by passengers who stormed the cockpit. Police officers were represented by a Port Authority hat. Casualties were 37, as well as one canine for the Port Authority, as well as 23 for the NYPD and one for the secret service. Military personnel were also represented as Christie explained that 55 members of the military were killed in the Pentagon, as well as many more in the ensuing war on terror.
Guest speaker for the 15th anniversary ceremony was LTC Ted Plucinski, USAF, Ret., who spoke not about the tragedy of the past, but the celebration of those who serve today.
“When I took an oath for the military that included the ‘unlimited liability clause’ which said I would give my life to my country, I knew what I was signing on for,” he said. “First responders never signed on for that. But 15 years ago, that changed,” he said.
Speaking directly to the dozens of fire, police and EMS personnel gathered, Plucinski said, “You have taken up that challenge and although our enemies try to scare you and make you fail, they are the ones fow have failed.”
“I salute you,” he concluded.
The Jefferson High School Junior ROTC presented colors, and the Washington High School Chamber Choir performed the National Anthem and God Bless America. Taps was played by Mitchell Eddy, Air Force Junior ROTC, and as has been present in each yearly remembrance ceremony, bagpiper Joe Kent performed “Amazing Grace” and “Going Home.”
Jefferson County resident June Adams presented each of the county’s seven fire departments with a commemorate quilt that she made. A well known quilter in the county, Adams said that she saw the quilt pattern at JoAnn’s Fabrics and felt inspired to make one for each of the companies to hang at their respective stations.
In addition to the quilt presentation, Mike Pittinger, a member of a three-generation family serving in fire and EMS in Jefferson County presented a framed copy of the Sept. 12, 2001 Journal newspaper front page and regional section front page to Independent Fire Company.