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Wakulla 9/11 Memorial Ceremony

Wakulla 9/11 Memorial Ceremony

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      This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking at the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony.  My words fall short of the honor our First Responders deserve, but I did my best to communicate the appreciation and respect I have for them.  At the beginning of the Ceremony, a beautiful rainbow appeared above their vehicles.

Here is a transcript of my speech.

     I’d like for you to talk a walk with me, back in time. Today is September 11, 2001 8:45    am.  Just another peaceful morning, in New York City. One minute later, at 8:46, peace will  be shattered by the most evil attack ever perpetrated in the heart of our great nation.
 

Nearly 3000 people, from 93 nations, died that day.
     2,753 in New York
     184 at the Pentagon
     and 40 more on Flight 93, 20 minutes outside of Washington DC.
     341 firefighters and 2 paramedics from the New York City Fire Department
     37 police officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department
     23 police officers from the New York City Police Department
     8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics
     3 New York State Court Officers
     And 11 unborn babies died that day who never had the opportunity to live

Since the attack, more than 1,400 rescue workers have died.
1,140 first responders and residents of Lower Manhattan have been diagnosed with cancer

This was not just an attack on the United States of America. This was an attack on humanity. This was an attack on innocent, peace loving people.

     The rag tag group of terrorists who perpetrated this attack did not have the military might to face the United States of America on the battlefield. On this day, they intended to shake our confidence, spread fear throughout our nation and weaken our reputation as a Super Power on the World Stage. They failed to realize, the United States of America has never been, and never will be, shaken or defined by the intensity of those who rise up against us. The United States of America is defined by the grace of God and an overwhelming desire for freedom, secured by our Founding Fathers and handed down from generation to generation. That desire for freedom lives strong today undiluted and undeterred!

     When two airplanes struck the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, fear instantly struck the hearts of 16,000 people who currently occupied it. That’s half the population of our County. Fear brought chaos, as thousands of terrified people scrambled to exit the crippled mass that was once stood tall over the New York skyline. In the midst of the panic, chaos, fires, falling debris and uncertainty, a few brave souls did not seek a path to safety. Instead of running from the apparent danger, they grabbed their gear and ran toward it. Human nature compels us to protect ourselves from harm. Self-preservation is embedded in our DNA and an ordinary instinct in the face of danger. There are some among us, who are not ordinary. They are extraordinary! They have an unnatural ability to recognize inherent danger, set their fear aside and charge into harm’s way. They put the safety of others ahead of concern for themselves. They are our First Responders. They are known by many names, Firefighter, Police, Deputy, and Emergency Medical Personnel. They can be described with one single word. Hero!

     Today, I am humbled by the opportunity to remember those who laid down their life, so that perfect strangers my live another day. I am proud to say Thank You to the Heroes who stand before us in uniform today. May we never take them for granted. Although they never seek praise for themselves, they deserve all we can bestow upon them. May we never pass them casually and miss an opportunity to Thank them and encourage them. May God always keep them safe, as they keep us safe.

May our fallen Heroes rest in peace

and a special Thank you to our own Wakulla County Heroes!

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One Response to “Wakulla 9/11 Memorial Ceremony”

  1. Kathleen Lamarche says:

    Wonderful. Thanks for speaking so eloquently for all of us. And I can’t help thinking God was there, too, in the form of the rainbow. 🙂

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