The 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks remembered during ceremony outside Vancouver city hall
VANCOUVER — Fourteen firefighters will soon be added to the ranks of the New York City Fire Department. Each of them lost a father in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center 18 years ago today. Now, they are carrying on their legacy and inspiring others to do the same.
Such was one of the stories shared with all who came to the Patriot Day Salute ceremony in Vancouver hosted by the Community Military Appreciation Committee (CMAC) and Waste Connections.
The Vancouver Fire Department (VFD) and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) also participated in the event, lending their reverence and perspectives of honor to every person present.
Following VFD Division Chief Tom O’Connor’s remarks on the NYC firefighters following after their parents, VPD Officer Rey Reynolds took the podium; preparing to sing “God Bless America.”
He had something to say first.
“I am moved by what I just heard. All those young men, and women, who are now stepping up; taking their place as Americans,” he said. “I look over and I see two young ladies over here, dressed in marine outfits. They told me, ‘Officer Reynolds, we want to be police officers.’ And after hearing what I just heard, I say to you young ladies, I’m proud of you. You’re going to be great police officers.”
Many young men and women part of the Young Marines, helped at the event with everything from folding chairs, to greeting guests, to releasing the doves symbolizing peace.
Col. Larry J. Smith (Ret.) USA, co-chair of CMAC, emceed the event and introduced the speakers. Chaplain Pete Schrater of City Harvest Church delivered both the invocation and benediction.
In addition to leading “God Bless America,” Officer Reynolds also sang the National Anthem. Main remarks were delivered by Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Assistant Police Chief Mike Lester and Division Fire Chief Tom O’Connor.
“Together we showed the world, no matter what happens, we will stand,” the mayor said, holding back tears. “Shoulder to shoulder, and protect what is just and what is right. Remember those that stayed behind, and sacrificed their own life, because they wouldn’t abandon their friends.”
The presentation of the famous wreath, was performed by Col. Michael Burton (Ret.) USAF, and the final alarm was done by the Vancouver Fire Honor Guard, who also performed the posting and retiring of the colors.
Each and every American remembers where they were and what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001; even this young reporter, who was only four years old then.
My young eyes saw the towers fall that morning in a rerun of the national news on our television. My mother was very concerned. My father was locked out of country, being in Singapore for a work trip.
These tiny images and moments were seared into my memory, as I have grown up in the shadow of terrorism and that dark day.
That is why when Col. Smith (Ret.) USA told the crowd this year, that he and his colleague had attended a high school event in which they witnessed great respect from the students during the national anthem, and how he values the importance of teaching our young people why they have what they have today, because of those some 3,000 lives lost … I am moved and hopeful. I am thankful. I remember, and I look to tomorrow, living in today.
— Jacob Granneman
VFW Post 7824 presented a rifle salute and performance of “Taps,” before Gustav Baur of the Portland Police Highland Guard performed “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.