VFW, First Responders Gather at Memorial for Patriot Day (Video)

September 11, 2021 - (Album) - In honor of Patriot Day, all who made sacrifices on September 11, 2001, and thereafter, a ceremony was held on the Center square before the Shelby County Veteran's Memorial Friday, September 10, 2021 with many members of the community and first responders in attendance.

The event was hosted by the VFW Post 8904 with Post Quartermaster Larry Hume leading the ceremony. An opening prayer was given by Kenneth Ramsey, Post Chaplain. Following the prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

"On September 11 2001, exactly 20 years ago tomorrow, America witnessed evil beyond belief. It was difficult for all of us to grasp the scope of tragedies that day. It was one of the single most tragic days in our country's history," said Hume. "Two decades have passed since that fateful day, and for most the memories of what happened that day are still vivid and painful as they were 20 years ago, and while time can never remove pain we can still find some solace in remembering how our nation united then in the subsequent days and months that followed."

Hume continued, "That day, we refused to allow evilness to triumph over good, and the accounts of hope and heroism that emerged from the rubble of ground zero, the Pentagon and the rural Pennsylvania field inspired us all," said Hume. "To this day, those remarkable acts of valor continue to serve as a reminder of all that is good and true in the human spirit. In our grief, our nations and our citizens stood tall, and defiantly proud police, fire fighters, airplane passengers and crew members gave their lives to save their fellow man. Their heroism will never be forgotten by a grateful America, nor by the Veterans of Foreign Wars who by their own experiences recognize heroism, and the high cost that comes with it."

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, who was 18 years old and in the United States Army when he was killed in action in Afghanistan October 14, 2008.

"We can best honor the victims we remember today by recommitting ourselves to our families, our communities and our country," said Hume

Flags were mandated by presidential proclamation to be lowered to half-staff at sunrise and remain that way until sundown, September 11, 2021.

Introduced by Hume, and speaking on behalf of first responders in Shelby County were Keith Byndom, Center Fire Chief; Jeremy Bittick, Center Police Lieutenant; and Jessie Griffith, Allegiance Mobile Health. Each reflected on the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and the need of everyone to come together to overcome all things.

Hume thanked all of the first responders for what they do every day in dealing with circumstances not of their own making.

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 41-year first responder. 

Following a moment of silence and remembrance of September 11, 2001 Taps was played as presented by Gene Hutto, Post Commander, and Leigh Porterfield sang God Bless America to close out the ceremony.

Before Porterfield sang, she stated, "I wanted to express gratitude to all the first responders on behalf of ordinary Americans, and it occurred to me, Americans are extraordinary. So, on behalf of a grateful nation, grateful local citizens, thank you guys we appreciate you very much."