First Responders Remember Their Own At 9-11 Commemoration
"Roberto Medina Mariana."
"Elias Martinez, Jr."
"Angel Luis Lorenzo-Gonzales."
"Wendy Leticia Shannon."
Theirs and 222 other names of first responders were read in remembrance of the deadliest series of terrorist attacks on United States soil 17 years ago during a 9-11 commemoration ceremony at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Tuesday.
Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters read the names of 134 police officers who died since Sept. 11, 2017, and Casper Fire Chief Thomas Solberg likewise read the names of 95 firefighters who died in the past year.
McPheeters said some of them died from the effects of the toxic substances they encountered during their rescue work at the 9-11 sites. In New York City alone, more than 300 firefighters died as they responded to the World Trade Center.
The attacks were the work of 19 members of al-Qaida, headed by the late Osama bin Laden, who hijacked four passenger jetliners. Two planes hit the New York World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the fourth landed in a field in western Pennsylvania when passengers overpowered the hijackers of that plane.
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said, citing Chaplain Dave Mondle's invocation, that the first responders rushed in when others were running out of the buildings.
"It's not just a day of remembrance," Barrasso said. "It's a day of resolve; a day of resolve for us as citizens, and for our nation."
In 1861, Abraham Lincoln was a new president and gave one of his shortest speeches during a flag-raising ceremony at the White House on the Fourth of July, saying that his job was to raise the flag, Barrasso said. Pointing to the crowd, Lincoln added, "'It is your job to keep it up.'"
After reading the names, McPheeters said there were more than these first 229 responders who died in the past year.
"I challenge each and every one of us to remember our commitment to this great nation, the ideals on which it was founded, to the concept of heroes, a land of the free and home of the brave," he said.