Com­mu­nity hon­ors an­niver­sary of 9/11

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - PHOTOS BY KRIS­TIAN JAIME By KRIS­TIAN JAIME Kjaime@ches­pub.com

GRASONVILLE — With bag­pipes play­ing “Amaz­ing Grace” at The Jetty restau­rant on Tues­day, Sept. 11, Queen Anne’s County hon­ored the sem­i­nal point in re­cent Amer­i­can his­tory.

Justin Davis, CEO of First Light for First Re­spon­ders, started Toast for He­roes with eight other mem­bers of the Kent Is­land Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment to honor the vic­tims and fallen first re­spon­ders of the ter­ror­ist at­tacks at the Twin Tow­ers in New York City.

“My­self and oth­ers from the Kent Is­land Fire Vol­un­teer De­part­ment went to New York af­ter the at­tacks in 2001,” Davis said. “We started do­ing some­thing to com­mem­o­rate it, and we’ve been do­ing it every year since 2002. We started it at pre­vi­ous bars and started get­ting more and more peo­ple to where we are now.”

Al­though the at­tacks oc­curred 17 years ago, Davis pointed out the need to con­tinue to ed­u­cate sub­se­quent gen­er­a­tions about its im­pli­ca­tions on the coun­try and to pay re­spect to the fallen. He said the sup­port he re­ceived for the event came largely from the “tight-knit” com­mu­nity of Kent Is­land.

The com­mem­o­ra­tion is put on by vol­un­teers and has cul­ti­vated a fol­low­ing of sup­port­ers who have made it a yearly tra­di­tion. It also is funded by raf­fle sales to con­tinue the par­tic­i­pa­tion of a bag­pipe duo.

“My main rea­son for do­ing this is for the kids that weren’t around when ev­ery­thing hap­pened,” Davis said. “It’s ex­tremely im­por­tant for me be­cause in re­cent years, peo­ple are try­ing to erase his­tory. Me be­ing there and wit­ness­ing these things, I can tell them ex­actly what hap­pened and they can tell their kids.”

For Justin Kier­nen, gen­eral man­ager of The Jetty Restau­rant and Dock Bar, be­ing able to host such an event was a point of pride.

“This is be­yond spe­cial,” Kier­nen said. “This is a way to give back to the com­mu­nity and re­mem­ber all those peo­ple that lost their lives so we can live the way we do. We’re hon­ored to do it, and we want to thank all the peo­ple that make it pos­si­ble.”

The pro­gram in­cluded the recita­tion of the po­lice­men’s and fire­fighter’s prayer and a speech by Davis high­light­ing the im­por­tance of pa­tri­o­tism and sac­ri­fice. Davis also read a poem writ­ten by a fel­low fire­fighter fol­low­ing their time in New York.

“We just want peo­ple to come to­gether and never for­get what hap­pened on that hor­rific day. We need to look at the pos­i­tive things that came out of that like the coun­try com­ing to­gether,” Kier­nen said.

County Com­mis­sion­ers Steve Wil­son, Jim Mo­ran, Jack Wil­son were on hand, as well as Repub­li­can county com­mis­sioner can­di­dates Chris Corchiarino and Phil Du­me­nil. Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann also ad­dressed the crowd in a speech that un­der­scored the im­por­tant role of first re­spon­ders on Sept. 11.

“Ev­ery­one re­mem­bers where they were on Sept. 11. That day, so many Amer­i­can lives were lost,” Hof­mann said. “We trusted our first re­spon­ders when they ran to­wards dan­ger to help those civil­ians that needed at­ten­tion and pro­tec­tion from the dan­gers that were put there. We salute them and our mil­i­tary for all they do.”

As Davis raised a glass to the mem­ory of those lost, he said the nu­mer­ous in­di­vid­u­als are gone but far from for­got­ten.

Justin Davis, CEO of First Light for First Re­spon­ders, speaks to guests as footage of the ter­ror­ist at­tacks is re­played.

Justin Davis, CEO of First Light for First Re­spon­ders, started Toast for He­roes and raised a glass to them.

Bag­piper Randy Welch of Eas­ton leads the pro­ces­sion to kick off the Toast to He­roes on Sept. 11 at The Jetty.

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