A day to stand together in remembrance

Pictured is the First Responders Memorial in the Rainsville City Park.

The Rainsville Police Department and the Rainsville Fire Department have organized a day of remembrance to honor the first responders, victims and survivors of 9/11.

Rainsville Police Chief Kevin Smith said for Patriot Day, at 8:30 a.m., everyone is welcome to come to the First Responders Memorial in the Rainsville City Park to support the country’s first responders.

“We are doing this to honor the victims and the survivors of 9/11,” Smith said. “It is to help motivate this country to stay united and to stand together to support our first responders, our military and everyone who is fighting the war on terror.”

Smith said he, Rainsville Fire Chief Willimac Wright and Councilman Derek Rosson plan to speak at the memorial and Kayron Guffey, member of the First Responders Committee, will be the master of ceremonies.

Rosson said he was in the ninth grade in 2001, and his future plans changed the day of the 9/11 attacks.

“I remember where I was at [on 9/11] and I remember what happened and that was the day I decided to join the Marines,” he said.

Rosson said he plans to speak more on that particular day at the memorial, but that his overall message is remembrance.

“I want to invite everyone to come out because it’s an important day and it’s one that we don’t ever need to forget,” Rosson said. “We want to remember this day and we want to remember the fallen.”

Smith said there will be others there to lead the public in remembrance.

“Our chaplain is going to do our prayer, and we are going to have a bell ceremony,” Smith said. “We are going to read several names of the victims of the first responders of 9/11 and when we do that, we are going to ring a bell to honor their memory.”

Smith said Patriot Day is a day of remembrance and that he wants to encourage citizens to always remember their first responders.

“After 9/11, everyone appreciated first responders, and they still do,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, people still appreciate first responders, but after 9/11, people were walking up to police officers and firemen and thanking them for what they do. People still do that to a certain extent, but not like they did.

“It is crucial that the first responder community knows that our public is behind us. We work for the public and we want to know that they are behind us.”

Smith said first responders have a duty to serve the public and “have the public’s back” and that it helps to know that the public has its first responders’ backs as well.

“We know that they are behind us, but it really helps the moral of the officers and the firefighters for someone to walk up to them and thank them for what they do,” he said. “A lot of times, these men and women are sacrificing time away from their families to protect the citizens of this city and everywhere.”

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