Article by V. EuGene Kennard
Yesterday is a day that I will never forget. It was Sept. 11, 2013 – 12 years after a great atrocity and tragedy for our country. This was a day in which many innocent lives were taken by fools and fanatics that did not understand the goodness of America. Good men and women rushed to help, only to have their lives snuffed out in an instant. We will never forget, and yesterday proved that.
The American Legion (Post 223-Syracuse) performed a ceremony commemorating the memorial of this solemn occasion. It was sobering and thoughtful, but I was left with far more in my heart than mere pleasantries. At Memorial Park, we gathered as an Honor Guard, along with many members of our community gathered together to honor our fallen.
As we assembled, I was struck by the fact that an Indiana State Trooper (in uniform and on duty), whose name I believe is Kevin, and one of our local police officers named Salazar (also in uniform and on duty) were present and stood with us in our ceremony. However, prior to the beginning of the ceremony, I heard applause. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw a beautiful sight.
Marching across the street was a detail of our finest. You see, the Syracuse Fire Department had taken it upon themselves to not only attend, but they were, like us, in full dress uniform. They looked sharp, and in my view, represented the essence of what this great nation of ours stands for. They stood for the fallen, as though it could have been them rushing in to those twin towers to save the lives of people they did not know.
I want to shift gears for a moment, and when I am done, I hope you will see why I am so proud of yesterday’s events and attendees. Not too long ago, my friend was experiencing a medical emergency. As my wife and I attempted to transport him to Goshen to the hospital, my wife stated that we would not make it because of the seriousness of his condition. I asked, “What should we do, pull over and dial 911?” She astutely said, “No. The Firehouse is just up the street.”
It never dawned on me, but her quick thinking may very well have saved our friend’s life. EMS quickly went to work on him (it was 2 a.m.) and once they stabilized him, they transported him to the Goshen emergency room, and he was admitted. I was struck by the fact that they did not “grandstand” or in any way seek recognition. They simply answered the call and did their appointed duty. I thank them, and I am sure many in our community share that sentiment and experience.
So what does this have to do with 911? Everything! This is OUR community, and we have heroes in our midst. You won’t necessarily know who they are as you pass them on the sidewalk, but they are here, vigilant, and eager to help. I realize that it was not only fire fighters and police who died in the twin towers, but we have living examples within our midst who embody the very spirit we call Americanism.
I was so proud to stand with them yesterday in the ceremony, and want to say publicly that I am proud to be a member of this community, and to have had the privilege to stand with them all in an attempt to memorialize such an important moment in our history. Thanks go out to our law enforcement, our fire fighters, EMS and also to our citizens who respect and appreciate all that they do. May God bless each one of you, and may God continue to bless the greatest nation in the world, the United States of America.