Community remembers 9/11 tragedy
GRASONVILLE — The Jetty Restaurant and Dock Bar was packed with people the evening of Sunday, Sept. 11, as community members gathered to honor the sacrifices first responders and military members make daily for the freedoms every American has during the annual Salute to the Heroes remembrance event.
As always, the American flag flew high, draping from the ladders of the Church Hill and Grasonville volunteer fire departments’ firetrucks outside of the restaurant. Randy Welch and Rob Murray, playing the bagpipes and snare drum,
respectively, guided about 20 event participants into the restaurant and around the outdoor deck overlooking the water. The bar was filled with firefighters, EMS personnel, police, military and veterans who greeted the procession with applause and thanks.
Justin Davis with the Grasonville VFD, who has organized the annual event for the past 11 years, greeted the audience and gave thanks to the family of Bruce Smith, a Grasonville VFD member who died in May. He lit a candle next to an enlarged photo of Smith.
Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson began the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance, which was followed by a performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Olivia Grace Kelly and Jamie Pott.
The Soldiers Creed, read by United States Marine Corps Sgt. Rebecca Fletcher, was greeted with “hoorahs” and loud applaiuse. The EMS Prayer, read by Assistant EMS Chief Scott Wheatley, the Policeman’s Prayer, read by Lt. Mark Meil of the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, and the Fireman’s Prayer, read by Dan Mautz, were said aloud. At the end of Meil’s prayer, he read poem, entitled, “I’m Just Like You,” by an unknown author.
“I have been where you fear to be; I have seen what you fear to see; I have done what you fear to do; All these things I have done for you,” the poem began.
Jacqueline Olson with the Maryland State Fireman’s Association said not to forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice the day the United States was attacked by terrorists, as well as not to forget the victims of the survivors and their families.
“As we try to look for some good or spark in that tragic event, I reflect on how this day, Sept. 11, has become the national day of service as well as remembrance,” Olson said. “... President Bush issued after that tragic event a challenge to all Americans to make the time to help their neighbors, their community and the nation through service. We today, the State of Maryland and its 370 volunteer fire, rescue and EMS companies and departments, encourage people and their community to work together to meet the needs of the city or town that they love.”
As Davis stood on the stage, he remarked that so much has changed in the past 15 years after the attacks, but not in the “fear we shared as we watched the planes crash into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Penn. Or when we saw the towers fall, realizing all the lives that had just been lost. Friends, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, ever ything we believed about freedom was challenged in a matter of a few hours by an enemy trying to instill fear and destroy this country.”
Davis said immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, the nation became patriotic, flying flags from their homes, overpasses, bridges and buildings. He said families would stop by the fire station and provide the crew with food and drinks, as well as some just coming by to say thank you.
That patriotism, he said, has began to fade in recent years as the country has become divided in many ways. “Black Lives Matter. White Lives Matter. Police and Firefighters being assaulted and even killed,” Davis said. “This must stop now because American lives matter.”
Davis said the nation needs to get back to core values like caring for each other, helping one another and helping in the healing process.
Bill Reem closed out the remembrance with a performance of the song “Taps.”
The event was sponsored by Bar Crawler Entertainment, The Jetty Dock Bar, A-Shore Out Bail Bonds, Vape Bird, All American Awards and Printing, Crossbones Tattoo and Body Piercing, and Bay Breeze Cleaning LLC.
The Grasonville and Church Hill Volunteer Fire Departments raised the American Flag in front of the Jetty Dock Bar before the annual Salute to the Heroes 9/11 remembrance event on Sunday, Sept. 11.
Capt. Matt Bauer reads the Fireman’s Prayer during the 2016 Salute to the Heroes 9/11 remembrance event at the Jetty Dock Bar in Grasonville on Sunday, Sept. 11.
Before the Salute to the Heroes ceremony began on Sunday, Sept. 11, a candle was lit in remembrance of Grasonville Volunteer Fire Deparment’s Bruce Smith, who died in May of 2016.