Evening remembrance ceremony on Saturday, September 11, to be held on Harrison County Courthouse Square in Marshall, Texas to commemorate 20th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America on September 11, 2001 in which 2,977 persons were killed in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The victims included 343 firefighters and 69 members of law enforcement and other first responders who perished that day.
To honor and remember those who were killed in the attacks 20 years ago, all firefighters, members of law enforcement, other first responders, and members of the public in Marshall and Harrison County are invited to a brief evening remembrance ceremony that will be held on the east parking lot of the 1901 Harrison County Courthouse Square at 7:30pm on Saturday, September 11, 2021.
Christina Anderson, who serves on the planning committee of the Harrison County Firefighters Association (HCFA) that coordinates the community prayer service each year, shared the following: “We want to make sure that everyone in our community is aware that the remembrance ceremony to honor those who lost their lives on September 11th will be held this year in the evening, rather than in the morning, as we have done in years past. Since it is the 20th anniversary, we wanted to plan a different type of remembrance ceremony which will include luminaria displayed around the historic Courthouse.”
Danny Butler, Assistant Fire Chief of Harrison County Emergency Service District #2 in Nesbitt and member of the planning committee, explained that part of this year’s remembrance will be a beautiful display of luminaria, with battery-operated tea lights in white paper bags, all around the historic Courthouse.
Chief Butler explained: “We plan to have more than 300 luminaria displayed around the historic Courthouse to represent and honor the 343 firefighters and 69 members of law enforcement and other first responders who bravely answered the call that tragic day. Their heroism, and the heroism of others who responded that day, saved many, many lives. We must never forgot the sacrifices of that day 20 years ago.”
The Marshall Fire Department and Harrison County Emergency Service District #1 (West Harrison) are scheduled to each bring a ladder truck, between which the American flag will be flown for the ceremony.
The Harrison County Firefighters Association Honor Guard and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard will post the colors for the service.
Gary Smith, Fire Chief of Harrison County Emergency Service District #2 in Nesbitt also serves on the planning committee and explained that the remembrance service this year will also include the firefighters traditional Ringing of the Bell.
Chief Smith shared: “The Ringing of the Bell is designed to honor and pay respect to firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.”
He also shared that the ceremony will include a Remembrance Call that will be much like what is known as Last Call at a firefighter’s memorial service. It will also include the playing of a bagpiper’s rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Dr. Eric Hillman, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at East Texas Baptist University, will play “Taps” for the ceremony. Dr. Hillman is a veteran of the Houston Police Department where he served as officer, sergeant, lieutenant, staff attorney, and police academy instructor.
The committee also explained that the ceremony will be brief this year due to the current increase in cases of COVID and the delta variant in Marshall and Harrison County. All safety protocols and guidelines will be followed in this outdoor ceremony.
The HCFA planning committee wishes to thank Harrison County for kindly providing the use of the grounds around the 1901 Harrison County Courthouse for the display of the luminaria and for the use of the east parking lot for the ceremony. They also wish to thank the City of Marshall for providing assistance with placing cones or small barriers to reserve the area just east of the parking lot for the ladder trucks to park on Bolivar Street.
The HCFA also wishes to thank Marshall Grave Service for underwriting the luminaria, Sullivan’s Funeral Home for providing the sound system for the ceremony, and Meadowbrook Funeral Home for printing the programs.
The committee also wishes to share their deep appreciation to the Chiefs and members of all Fire Departments, Police Departments, Sheriff’s Office, and other first responders in Marshall and Harrison County who will be participating. All are invited and all are invited to bring a vehicle from their department.
Ms. Anderson added: “Just as we are profoundly grateful to those who currently serve or have served in our military to bravely protect our nation and our Constitution, we, as a community and as a country, are also profoundly grateful to all firefighters, members of law enforcement, and other first responders. They put their lives on the line each and every day to keep us safe.”
She continued: “This is particularly true in 2020 and 2021 since they, like other brave frontline workers, have served so selflessly during this dangerous pandemic. Plus, with the devastation of Hurricane Ida and other such disasters, we’re continually reminded of how consequential their selfless and courageous work is day in and day out. We appreciate their sacrifice more than words could ever say and we thank them for what they do to protect us.”
The members of the Harrison County Firefighters Association ask that the community continue to keep all healthcare workers, first responders, and other frontline heroes in your prayers and do all that you can do to work together to stop the spread of the virus.
In addition to the victims who died on 9/11, also to be remembered are those brave first responders and other workers who helped with rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero in New York City where the Twin Towers had fallen. It has been estimated that more than 2,000 of those working at Ground Zero for the weeks and months following the attacks have died of illnesses related to the work at Ground Zero and thousands of others have battled illnesses connected with this heroic and difficult work.
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