Remembering 9/11: Ceremonies' organizers fear sacrifice will be forgotten

SANDUSKY The fear of forgetting the tragedies on Sept. 11, 2001, was the motivation for memorial cer
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



The fear of forgetting the tragedies on Sept. 11, 2001, was the motivation for memorial ceremonies across Erie County Tuesday.

A 6 p.m. ceremony at the fire and police memorials beside the Erie County Courthouse emphasized the importance of remembering what occurred that day.

Those sentiments were echoed an hour later in the Great Room at the Ohio Veterans Home, where current servicemen, friends, family, veterans and patriots exercised their vocal cords in patriotic songs, readings and prayer.

At the county memorial service for victims of the attack, Vermilion Township Fire and Police Department Chaplain Walter Metter shared his experience of the sights and sounds of New York City in the days following Sept. 11.

Between the fire memorial service and police memorial ceremony, an ensemble from the Sandusky High School band provided a musical interlude.

During the police memorial service Sandusky police Officer Kris Parsons read from a borrowed prayer:

"We looked with horror on the terrorist attacks of that day. But we looked with honor on the acts of courage by ordinary people who sacrificed themselves to prevent further death and destruction," he said. "We shed our tears in a common bond of grief for those we loved and lost."

Erie County Commissioner Nancy McKeen reminded the crowd the sacrifice made by emergency personnel that day in many cases was the ultimate sacrifice, and that the pain endured by victims' families will never diminish.

Honoring the victims and heroes of Patriots Day continued after the county service at the veterans home, where fallen heroes from the War on Terror were memorialized by a wall of service stars crafted by area resident Jan Lippus.

"Every time I have to make one (a star), it gets harder and harder. There are so many of them," Lippus said.

The home also received an honorary wall hanging, made by Jeanette Gundrum, representing all the branches of military service.

The sixth annual musical tribute sponsored by American Legion Post 83 included the poems "Americana" and "Final Inspection," along with other readings.

Live music wasn't available for the celebration this year, but patriots of all ages sang along with recordings of meaningful songs that included "The Armed Forces Medley" and "God Bless America."

Representatives from a local Ohio National Guard unit updated the audience about their continual training as they move toward deployment to Iraq later this year.

Event coordinator Jim Caldwell had hoped someone else would take over planning this year's service, but when no one stepped up he took the call of duty to assemble the program yet again.

"I was not going to let it just fade away ... the meaning of the program, or the meaning of this day."

Caldwell reminded the audience there were other heroes to thank who couldn't be at the function because they are serving their country.

"We need to support and we need to honor our military personal who are serving all across the world in the name of liberty ...," he said.