September 11, 2001 has become synonymous with the terrorist attacks on The Pentagon in Washington D.C., the open field in Pennsylvania and the World Trade Center Towers of New York City. It is commonly referred to as simply “9-11.” Across the nation, Americans gather as one people to commemorate the tragedy, bravery and significance of that special day. Clarksville, Tennessee joined in the national day of remembrance with a 9/11 Memorial Ceremony conducted by Clarksville Fire & Rescue.
From the opening welcome greetings right down to the closing remarks and benediction, fire and rescue personnel and supporters displayed their dedication and willingness to serve with a program both somber and resilient. The playing the bagpipes accompanied the Honor Guard’s posting of the colors. The Honor Guard itself was composed of representatives of the Fort Campbell Fire Department, Clarksville Fire Rescue, Clarksville Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, Hopkinsville Fire Department and the Tennessee National Guard.
Jeff Akin sang the national anthem just prior to the placement of the Memorial Wreath honoring The Fallen of 9-11. Lt. Danny Cottrell, MCEMS, performed the Memorial Bell Ringing. Montgomery County Sheriff Deputy Angela Christian performed Taps.
The ceremony was briefly interrupted when a contingent squad had to depart in response to a call out. This incident only served to symbolize the nature of emergency response elements are always on call to respond to a emergency call.
Speakers for the memorial ceremony were Fire Chief Mike Roberts, County Mayor Carolyn Bowers and Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan. Chief Roberts gave an impassioned recollection of why this day is held in such high regard. Each of the mayors spoke to the obligation of the people to remember, to honor and not to forget, not only the loss of life on the national level but also the loss of lives here locally.
Family members of three fallen Clarksville Fire Rescue personnel placed flowers in memory of their loved ones at the memorial monument in front the Main Station Plaza. Firefighter Claude B. Walker, Captain George “Pen” Wilson and Engineer Ray Harrison were each honored by escorted family members laying flowers on the memorial altar. The silent tribute was followed with Jeff Akin singing “Where Were You,” in tribute.
Deputy Chief Howell Albright gave closing remarks in which he thanked the public officials who participated and attended the ceremony, along with the gathered members of the public. Chaplain Ernest Brockman, CFR gave the benediction.
CF&R organized the now annual event with the support of several local businesses and supportive friends and family members. Special thanks are extended to Boy Scout Troop 500, Porter Acoustics, McReynolds, Nave and Larson Funeral Home, American Flower & Gift Shop, Calvin Stokes, Jim Myatt, Kroger #582, IAFF 3180, and Engineers Mitch Kelly and Kenneth Keaton.
[Photos by Turner McCullough Jr./JazzWaves Imaging Solutions]