Ceremonies help Kent County commemorate 9/11
ROCK HALL — Whether in a public or private setting, people across Kent County took a moment Monday to remember the 16th anniversary of 9/11 and all the lives lost during the terrorist attack on American soil.
The Town of Rock Hall, along with the Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company, held its annual remembrance ceremony outside of the firehouse. Attendees took part in the Pledge of Allegiance, sang “America the Beautiful” and participated in a community-wide moment of silence.
“No words, no ceremony ... will ever replace the losses many of us experienced,” Mayor Brian Jones told the crowd. “But what this memorial can do is provide you with a time and place to remember, mourn and reflect our own way.”
He said the ceremony also can provide those in Rock Hall a “daily reminder to take nothing for granted.”
“Appreciate our freedoms. Count our blessings. Strive to help our fellow man,” Jones said. “And cherish our friends, families and our first responders.”
The Rev. Gary Priddy, pastor of Rock Hall United Methodist Church, read a prayer another minister wrote after the events of Sept. 1, 2001.
“We’re mindful of the sacrifice of public servants, who displayed the greatest love of all when they laid their lives down for friends,” Priddy read.
This year’s keynote speaker was Gary Fellows of Fellows Family Funeral Home in Millington. Jones said Fellows served in the National Funeral Directors Association’s taskforce shortly after 9/11, which was assigned to the Manhattan chief medical examiner’s office.
“It was devastating, inhuman and unbelievable that anyone or anything could choose to end so many lives without cause,” Fellows said. “The victims and families of 9/11 were innocent hard-working people, not combatants. They didn’t deserve any of this horror.”
However, he said the events of 9/11 did not divide the country. Rather, it “reunited America” and that the “love for our red, white and blue” has never been stronger.
“I could go on for hours, bringing back countless acts of heroism and unselfish acts by many during these events. We were and are Americans” Fellows said. “There were people from all walks of life coming together as one to help, to work, to create, to cry and to heal together.”
Fellows also said choices played a critical role Sept. 11, 2001. He said it is important to note first responders who gave their lives willingly chose to do so without hesitation.
“We each make choices every day and we acknowledge that they aren’t always the best we can make, but they are ours,” Fellows said. “The most important thing about tonight is that you made a choice to be here, as well as millions of citizens around the world, to take the time to reflect, remember and respect all the people that made such a huge sacrifice that tragic day in our history.
“So, we continue to heal and we take times like this to. Remember to continue lifting each up and these families up in your prayers. They are free and that line is always open,” he said.
Priddy ended the ceremony with a prayer that asked the Lord to watch over all local first responders and to continue strengthening the Rock Hall community.
Other groups also took time to remember.
The Kent County Board of Education held a moment of silence during a meeting earlier that night. Board President Trish McGee asked that audience members keep in their thoughts a pair of Kent Countians who gave their lives in military service in Iraq following 9/11.
Sgt. Jarrett Thompson, originally from Millington, was killed Sept. 7, 2003 and PFC Nicholas Spry of Chestertown was killed Feb 14., 2004 in Iraq.
Before the girls soccer match between Colonel Richardson and host Kent County at Worton Park, players stood united by taking a lap around the field with American flags to honor the victims.
Speaking Wednesday, Galena Mayor John Carroll said the town’s annual ceremony, held in partnership with the Galena Volunteer Fire Company, was well-attended. He said he served as the guest speaker.
“It was a very solemn affair. I told my story of where I was that day, how I felt when I saw what happened and how our world has changed since those attacks,” Carroll said. “We took a few minutes to reflect on not just that, but also how those events have made us and our country stronger.”
He said the ceremony honored the victims of the attacks and recognized the work of local first responders.
U.S. Marine veteran Maddy Crouch and his grandchildren, Madison Fletcher, right, Cyndi Fletcher and Gunner Blackiston recite the Pledge of Allegiance during Monday’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Rock Hall.
Gary Fellows, of Fellows Family Funeral Home in Millington, speaks about his experience in New York City as a volunteer after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 during the annual Rock Hall remembrance ceremony Monday.