Remembrance ceremony, lunch held at Copperas Cove Police Department
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association held its annual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony Wednesday morning in the parking lot in front of the police department.
Following the invocation, American pledge and a message by Roberto Rodriguez, president of alumni group, about the importance of recognizing police and first responders, the alumni presented CCPD Chief Eddie Wilson with a commemorative flag in remembrance of all the heroes and victims that lost their lives on 9/11. They also had one for the CCFD who were out on a call and arrived several minutes later.
Following the ceremony, a lunch was held at the rear of the facility.
Several members of the CCFD showed up, including Fire Chief Michael Neujahr and Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young.
CPA alumni First Vice President Bob Oakes shared that the purpose for the ceremony each year is to keep the promise of never forgetting what happened 18 years ago when terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
“After 9/11 happened, everybody was saying we’ll never forget, and we want to make sure that we don’t because we know in a lot of areas of the country they have,” Oakes said. “Today I think all across the country, pretty much, there are some people remembering, there are people hanging their heads in prayer, remembering and stuff, but I think it’s something that needs to be remembered every day, not just one day a year. So, for us to do it, we just try to get out in front of people and just remind them, you know, think about it. Don’t let it slip. Don’t let it get out of your mind. Think about it and anytime you get a chance in the busy way of life we have today, and stop and just give it a thought that there are a lot of people we should be thankful for- not just first responders but our military and people like that that keep us safe and keep our way of life going.”
Chief of Police Eddie Wilson said that community events such as Wednesday’s ceremony and lunch were awesome because usually the police department only hears from citizens when something has gone wrong.
“So, it’s nice for organizations and citizens to put on events like this, just even reaching out and just saying a simple thank you for what we do goes a long way for our officers,” Wilson said. “It’s nice to hear the positive every once in a while, as well, so this is a great event, and we really appreciate they do this for us every year.”
Wilson added that on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, it was hard to believe it has been 18 years.
“Feels like it was just a few years ago, but that’s a good thing too because it’s still fresh in our minds,” Wilson said. “We’re still not forgetting what happened and although a traumatic event, it was very important from a community standpoint of all of us coming together for a common purpose of safety and security of our communities.”
Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young, with the Copperas Cove Fire Department explained that the event meant a lot to him and to his fellow firefighters.
“You know, the Emergency Services, we are very humble servants. We are here to serve the community and we don’t necessarily look forward to getting that praise because it’s not always going to be there, but when we do receive the praise, it is greatly appreciated,” Young said.
He added that the significance of 9/11 is even greater because the events of 9/11 shaped what is going on in the Emergency Services community in the way that they run and handle things and respond to their citizens.
“It made us take a whole big look at terrorism and it made us take a look at Homeland Security and protecting ourselves on our own home turf, and it’s a hard look that we had to take,” Young said.
Young added that each year, the anniversary of 9/11 is not a celebration but a memorial to the nearly 3,000 people who died 18 years ago.
Of those who died, 343 were firefighters, eight were EMTs and paramedics and 60 were with the Port Authority Police Department and the New York City Police Department.