There should be some kind of insurance policy that covers you for anxiety attacks, buckled knees leading to collapse, chest palpitations, heart failure or worse when the IRS sends you an ominous looking envelope that says “Official Business – Penalty for Private Use, $300.”
It looked like a torrential downpour was about to cut loose as accurately predicted by meteorologist, Brent Watts at WDBJ. I had not made my daily trek to the mailbox yet so I’d better hustle I said to myself.
As I usually do upon exiting my front door I pulled the door closed just enough to not latch it.
Why you say do I do that? Easy answer – by some twist of my faithful front door knob in
Posting of the Colors by Aric Bower on 9/11/2011 Remembrance Ceremony
The sky was ominously bright blue with a few stray fluffy clouds and bright streaks of sun slowly ebbing as time for Roanoke Valley’s 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony drew near. It was a combined Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Salem City and Vinton commemoration.
Keeping watch at 9/11 Ceremony
Looking toward the sky one could spot public safety “look outs” perched above 202 Market and Cornerstone Bar and Grill. Binoculars watching for the unthinkable.
If the unthinkable happened in Roanoke Virginia “our local first responders like those on 9/11 would suit-up rush into the fire do their duty with courage and serve their fellow man – that’s their sacrifice – their sacred duty,” said Roanoke City’s Mayor David Bowers.
Charlotte Moore Roanoke County Vice Chair, Board of Supervisors read the poem “The Last Alarm” by Jim Martinez dedicated to the children of the fallen firefighters. Some let the tears flow while others held it in – marked though by solemn faces.
The final Tolling of the Bell was followed by Amazing Grace on the bagpipes played by Aric Bower, son of retired Roanoke Police Sergeant Jeff Bower. That brought out some tearful holdouts. Every detail of the ceremony went flawlessly.
Retired Virginia Beach Battalion Chief Mike Brown
The bell was rung by retired Virginia Beach Battalion Chief Mike Brown who spend 19 days at ground zero operating and directing recovery and rescue missions. “He knows all too well the sacrifices made on September 11,” said Roanoke County’s Fire Chief Richard Burch, Jr.
The Tolling of the Bell dates back to telegraph days and the red fire alarm boxes. Fire departments used this method to tap out a signal to communicate that a firefighter or other public safety officer was killed in the line of duty.
The signal is five dashes, a pause, five more measured dashes, a pause, and then a final five dashes. A signal of honor and respect for all firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice protecting their community.
The playing of bagpipes at fire stations goes back 150 years. As Irish immigrants they were not very welcome in America in those days. The intensive labor and dangerous jobs went to the Irish. Bagpipes took on a solemn dignity for Irish firefighters. The toughest Irishman had permission to cry when the mournful sound bellowed for a fallen comrade.
Speeches were inspiring; the posting of the colors included flags of all localities with the Virginia State flag and U.S. flag taking center stage. “The flag that represents the greatest nation on earth,” said Bradley Grose Mayor of Vinton.
Michelle Corbin 5 playfully helps direct the band.
The Salem High School band played uplifting music and Michelle Corbin 5 playfully helped direct the band.
There were hundreds gathered including sheriffs, fire chiefs, police chiefs, state police, elected officials and official hopefuls. Congressman Bob Goodlatte was the keynote speaker and spoke of how “life for all Americans have changed.”
A standing applause came for the Reverend Bryan Lawrence who suffered severe injury as a Roanoke City police officer when he wrestled a fleeing suspect to the ground. His injury sill causes him to walk with difficulty. Lawrence gave the Benediction.
Afterwards Brenda Hale an Army veteran said how much the ceremony meant to her. She was a Sergeant 1st class from 1965-1978. Hale is now President of the NAACP Roanoke Branch.
Council member Anita Price was barely audible through her emotion when she said, “God is good and his mercy endures forever and he loves our country and will never leave us.”
Reverend Bryan Lawrence, retired Roanoke City Police Officer