9/11 ceremony to remember and honor

Robert Houk • Updated Sep 11, 2018 at 1:53 PM

Kings Mountain Post 24 of the American Legion and Johnson City officials will hold a ceremony Tuesday to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and to honor first responders who who serve our communities daily.

The 9/11 Remembrance and Patriot Day Ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the amphitheater at Memorial Park Community Center, 510 Bert St.

The event will include representatives from the American Legion, Johnson City Police Department, Johnson City Fire Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson City/Washington County Emergency Medical Services and Tennessee Highway Patrol.

“We want to emphasize the appreciation we have for our first responders,” said Bryan Lauzon, commander of the American Legion Post 24. “We want to recognize the history and honor those who put their lives in jeopardy to serve us every day.”

An honor guard made up of local fire, police and medical officers will lay a wreath to memorialize the civilians and first responders who died 17 years ago.  A bell will also be struck at 8:45 a.m. to remember the time when the attacks began.

Lauzon said more than 10 organizations will participate in the event. He said speakers at the ceremony will share their personal remembrances of 9/11. Among them will be U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City.

At last year’s ceremony, Press Senior Reporter Becky Campbell reported that now retired JCPD Chief Mark Sirois told the audience he was teaching a class of police trainees on that 2001 morning.

When they took a break, someone told them what was happening at the Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon. Sirois said he and the recruits gathered around a small TV to watch the events unfold in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

“Public safety officers run to a crisis and do their utmost to protect and save lives and property,” Sirois said. “As first responders, together with all Americans, we connect and identify with the stories of those who were there at ground zero. Because as Americans, when one of us hurts, we all hurt.”

“And when crisis strikes, we join arms, band together, support each other and meet the needs of our neighbors.”