September 11, 2017 - A Patriot Day remembrance ceremony was held on the Center square before the Shelby County Veteran's Memorial Monday, September 11, 2017 with many members of the community and first responders in attendance.
The event was hosted by the VFW Post 8904 with Larry Hume leading the ceremony. An opening prayer was given by Pastor Aubie McSwain and following opening prayer the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
"We are here to honor the over 3,000 people who died on September 11, 2001, 16 years ago today, and all those who have served and sacrificed greatly in the years on the war on terrorism," said Hume.
Hume reminded everyone of three of Shelby County's own who died overseas protecting our freedoms and they are Larry E. Polley Jr., United States Army, killed in action in Iraq January 17, 2004; Kevin Casey Roberts, United States Army, killed in action in Afghanistan May 7, 2008; and Cory Bertrand, United States Army, killed in action in Afghanistan October 14, 2008.
"The war on terrorism has not however been confined to military actions. Many of our first responders right here on the homeland have also shared in the service and sacrifice," said Hume. "Your presence here this morning continues the spirit of unity and patriotism reborn on that day in 2001."
Flags were mandated by presidential proclamation to be lowered to half-staff at sunrise and remain that way until sunset.
"On September 11, 2001 when the first calls for help reached squad cars, ambulances and ladder companies there was no hesitation. First responders rushed to the scene, they stormed up the stairs and into the flames, and their legacy lives on in those they saved and the memories we keep. Most of all it lives on in the spirit they embodied, compassion, resilience and unity. Many of those we lost set aside their own well-being in the hope that they could save someone that they never know," stated Hume.
Introduced by Hume, and speaking on behalf of first responders in Shelby County were Derrick Lightfoot, Center Fireman; Jim Albers, Center Police Chief; DJ Dickerson, Shelby County Sheriff Chief Deputy; Jessie Griffith, ACE EMS; and Wayne Christian, Texas Railroad Commissioner. Each reflected on the tragedy of September 11, 2001, how the American spirit rises above adversity and the unity of emergency responders and the American people as a whole.
Center Fire Chief Keith Byndom placed the memorial wreath on the Shelby County Veterans Memorial, after which Hume reminded everyone to remember Mike Wood who formerly played the bagpipes at VFW events and was himself a first responder. Following a moment of silence and remembrance of September 11, 2001 Taps was played as presented by John Piersol and Leigh Porterfield sang God Bless America to close out the ceremony.