9/11 is not forgotten

A banner at Evergreen Park served as reminder of why more than 100 people gathered there Tuesday evening. - Photo by Charles Melton
A banner at Evergreen Park served as reminder of why more than 100 people gathered there Tuesday evening.
— image credit: Photo by Charles Melton

Six years after the largest terrorist attack on American soil, a group of about 100 people gathered at Bremerton’s Evergreen Park to show they have not forgotten.

“We all know why we’re here,” event organizer Don Raymond said as the Marine Security Force Color Guard and the Peninsula Pipe and Drum bagpipers stood in the background and a lone Navy bugler stood solemnly waiting to play “Taps” to conclude the ceremony.

“Thank you for being here on another beautiful September day,” said South Kitsap Fire and Rescue chaplain Melvin Byrd.

Six years ago it was another beautiful September day that became known as 9/11 and “we will never forget that day,” Byrd said.

More than 3,000 people died that day in the terrorist attacks that rocked the nation, he said.

“Four hundred lives were given,” he said. “Twenty-five hundred had no choice.”

The people working in the skyscrapers of the World Trade Center and in the Pentagon and those aboard a plane “had death and terror brought to them,” he said.

The first responders who responded to those incidents gave their lives to save others in the wake of that tragedy, he said.

Thirty-two babies were born in the months that followed the attacks and those children will never know their fathers or mothers, he said.

“They will never know them except through the stories and memories of others and in their hearts,” he said. “For them a flesh and blood dad will never be there.”

Since the attacks thousands of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and sons and daughters have been called into action and have given their lives for freedom, he said.

So far two Bremerton soldiers Staff Sgt. Christopher Bunda and Staff Sgt. Michael Burbank along with Sgt. Corey Aultz and Pfc. Devon Gibbons from Port Orchard are the only Kitsap County servicemen to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom in the war on terror.

“We will never forget those great Americans,” Byrd said. “So today six years after the attacks we look back and we see our world has changed,” he said.

Americans now know that there are people who hate the United States and “want to see us killed,” he said.

“Without vigilance, military strength and a willingness to sacrifice for our nation and people, we will be attacked again,” he warned.

However, because of the willingness of those who serve in the military and as first responders, “This is still America,” he said. “God bless America.”

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