Cer­e­monies help Kent County com­mem­o­rate 9/11

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By DORIAN MITCHELL dmitchell@thekent­coun­tynews.com

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.

PHOTO BY DORIAN MITCHELL

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.

PHOTO BY DORIAN MITCHELL

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.

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