Last Friday the Lynchburg Police Department (LPD), Fire Department, Monument Terrace Troop Rally and representatives from the city hosted a ceremony to remember September 11, 2001, and honor those who served and paid the ultimate price on that day.
Various speakers addressed the large crowd gathered in front of Monument Terrace before the colors were retrieved by the LPD honor guard, “Taps” was played, a bell was tolled in a manner known as “striking the four fives,” which has special significance for firefighters, and the Lynchburg Fire Department Bagpipers performed “Amazing Grace.”
Mark Jamison, LPD deputy chief, spoke about the efforts of the Coast Guard on 9/11 to evacuate civilians who had gathered on a sea wall at the edge of the city. He said 500,000 were evacuated in the space of nine hours.
“That in and of itself, is a miracle,” Jamison said.
By comparison, Jamison said it took nine days 339,000 British soldiers to evacuate from Dunkirk during World War II.
Jamison also paused for a moment of silence to honor the father of Brian Smith, a current LPD member who was a New York City firefighter during 9/11. Both Smith and his father, also a firefighter, responded to the incident, but his father passed away while in the line of duty.
Before the event came to an end, Brian Moore, a veteran who now lives in Lynchburg who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, also spoke.
Moore was a history teacher when the September 11 attacks occurred. Years later, he would serve overseas with a student who had been in one of his classes.
“Whether it was Vietnam or Korea, or World War II, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, regardless of how things unfold on the national and international arena, if you served honorably, you served honorably, and you should be proud of that,” Moore said.
When asked about his thoughts on the ceremony shortly after its conclusion, Ken Edwards, deputy chief with LPD, said he was glad to see so many remember the events of September 11, 2001.
“It’s just good to see the community come together like they did today,” Edwards said.