This past Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on America. Among the almost three thousand Americans that lost their lives on that tragic day, a large group were first responders. As most people ran out of the World Trade Centers that day, they ran in and many paid the ultimate price when those towers collapsed.
Last weekend, emergency vehicles and first responders lined up at the Meade County Courthouse to honor the men and women that lost their lives on that fateful day. A silent procession pulled out of the courthouse parking lot and made its way to the other end of the county to the Flaherty Firehouse.
Upon reaching their destination with their lights on but sirens silenced, the emergency vehicles were greeted with two ladder trucks that were fully extended with an enormous American flag hanging between them, forming a patriotic archway for the vehicles to drive under. One of those ladder trucks that now call’s Flaherty home was on the scene at the World Trade Center twenty years ago. Flaherty also has another engine that was there as well.
Once all the emergency vehicles were parked, a memorial service began. The National Anthem was sung, the Pledge of Allegiance recited and Amazing Grace was played on the bagpipe. A series of first responders took turns speaking about that tragic day, reading poems and prayers honoring each branch of emergency services, and honoring local first responders who have lost their lives in recent years.
Regardless of which branch, emergency responders have a tireless, at times horrifically, thankless job. When everyone else is running away from danger, they are the heroes who run towards harm's way. On Saturday, they took a moment to pause and honor those lost, sometimes with emotions breaking through. Meade County is truly blessed to have some of the greatest emergency responders there are—many of whom are volunteers. Hopefully, we will never see another tragedy equivalent to 9/11, but no matter what befalls this county, we are definitely in great hands.