Local First Responders Given Show of Appreciation


First Responders and fallen alike were honored and remembered in Lamar in three ceremonies this past Tuesday, September 11 on the 11th anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City.

A memorial flag raising ceremony was conducted for the victims of the 9/11 attacks at the Lamar Public Library at 7am. The names of those 2,740 persons who perished in the terrorist attack were inscribed on the fabric used to create the flag which was flown from sunrise to sunset. The flag will remain in the library display case for a week following September 11. It was donated for the occasion by the Friends of the Lamar Library. Another flag raising observance in memory of September 11 was held at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn at Noon.

The Lamar community and residents from other Prowers County towns were on hand for a special observance honoring local first responders at 5:30pm Tuesday on the north side of the Prowers County Courthouse. The observance, sponsored by Voces Unidas and Voices of Southeast Colorado, brought several hundred residents together for a presentation of certificates of appreciation for the area’s own first responders.

“From the bottoms of our heart, to the depth’s of our soul, we thank you,” was the phrasing of thanks used by Doug Harbour, from Voices of Southeast Colorado, the host and emcee for the event at the courthouse. He remarked that on 9/11 we, “…witnessed the best and the worst of human nature,” when he compared the airline hijacker terrorists to the numerous police and firemen and EMT responders to the World Trade Center on that morning in New York. Harbour added that local residents seldom have the opportunity to say “thanks” to the responders in our own hometown, and he believed that this occasion would be the best opportunity for the community at large to show its appreciation.

Mike Haley from the Fountain Police Department opened the observance wearing a tradidtional kilt as he played “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes. Musical presentations were offered by the Lamar High School Notables and the crowd was led in the Pledge of Allegiance by members of Troop 218 of the Boy Scouts and Pack 223 of the local Cub Scouts.

With almost every emergency vehicle in the county on hand, and displaying the American flag up and down East Elm Street, Allan Tinnes from Air Care and a second aircraft made a flyover above the gathering. Mitch Olsen served as historian for the gathering. Olsen, a history teacher in the Lamar school district, recounted how for him, as for many Americans, September 11, 2001 began like almost any other day, and how our world was altered in less than 24 hours. Olsen spoke about the economic and cultural impact to our nation following events of 9/11, how our international policies had altered in light of dealing with terrorist aligned nations, the on-going conflict and America’s involvement in the mid-eastern turmoil and how all of that has been brought to our doorstep on a daily occurrence. He recounted how our national response to 9/11 led to the creation of the Homeland Security Department, federal involvement in airport safety and the creation of the Patriot Act.

Harbour called for all current and past veterans to step forward and be recognized for their contributions to our nation’s safety and he called for a moment of silence to reflect on how 9/11 has impacted the lives of those in the audience and for the victims of those terrorist attacks 11 years ago. Following the presentation of Certificates of Dedication to 14 first responder groups from Prowers County, a 21 gun salute was conducted by the Honor Guards from American Legion Post 71 under the command of Bill Elam and VFW Post 3621 under Alfred Adame.

By Russ Baldwin

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