Elkins ceremony honors first responders

The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean First responders and area citizens gathered at the Elkins City Hall flag pole Tuesday morning to honor those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Front row, from left, are Michelle Phares, YouthBuild North Central program manager; and Lucinda Barrick, city of Elkins executive secretary. Back row, from left, are 1st Sgt. R.W. Belt, Elkins Police Department; Patrolman K.A. Shifflett, EPD; Sgt. M.J. Sigley, EPD; Matt Ogden, Elkins Fire Department firefighter; Capt. Ron Corcoran, EFD; and Tom Meader, Elkins Fire Chief.

ELKINS — To honor the roughly 3,000 individuals who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, first responders, and area officials and residents gathered Tuesday morning.

Elkins Mayor Van Broughton led the more than 30 individuals gathered around the Elkins City Hall flag pole in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, participating in a moment of silence, and listening to the National Anthem and a rendition of “God Bless America.”

“On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States,” Broughton said. “Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 were killed in the 9-11 terrorist attacks, which triggered U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.”

Broughton added that when tragedies such as 9-11 take place, the nation is lucky to have first responders willing to put American residents above themselves.

“We are so very fortunate in this country to have selfless first responders who rescue others before themselves. They risk their lives every day in their work before they go home to their loved ones and attacks like Sept. 11, 2001, remind us how fortunate we are to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave,” he said.

He said Tuesday, also known as “Patriots Day,” is a day to honor first responders and veterans also, and thanked the first responders in attendance at the event — 1st Sgt. R.W. Belt, Sgt. M.J. Sigley and Patrolman K.A. Shifflett, all of the Elkins Police Department, as well as Elkins Fire Chief Tom Meader, Capt. Ron Corcoran, and firemen Matt Ogden and Adam Roth, all of the Elkins Fire Department. Several veterans were also in attendance Tuesday.

“This Sept. 11 is the day to honor first responders. We honor them, not just today, but every day, in the city of Elkins,” Broughton said. “We truly appreciate our firemen, our policemen, our active military and veterans, and those who work on ambulances, as well as those that work in emergency rooms and trauma units. These are the folks that are the first on the scene to save lives. We honor you, we respect you, we pray for you and we appreciate you!”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice ordered all United States and West Virginia flags to be at half-staff Tuesday in observance of “Patriots Day.”