Fredericktown Police Sargent Jason Fitzwater began the local Patriot Day ceremony, Friday, by addressing the Madison County citizens who broke away from their hectic work day to reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I ask that Sunday, please just remember the people that lost their lives that day,” Fitzwater said. “The many, many, many soldiers that have gone overseas to fight since 9/11 and who have also lost their lives.”
James Murdock, Associate Pastor of Fresh Anointing United Pentecostal Church, spoke with an increasing level of compassion as he looked at a flag, held by County Clerk Don Firebaugh and Cherokee Pass volunteer firefighter Katy McCutcheon, bearing the names of people who were lost on that day in 2001.
“I labored over what to say. I look at that flag and the stripes and there are so many names of those who gave their lives,” Murdock said. “Let us never forget.”
The pastor listed statistics relative to engines and personnel from numerous fire departments in New York City deployed to the site of the World Trade Center after the first tower was hit.
“At that point most observers thought that a horrific accident had occurred,” Murdock said. “But, that was until less than 20 minutes later.”
“In fact at that point I know that I was in front of the (television) watching the south tower. Then to see the image of the second jet coming into the second tower,” Murdock said. “At that point that the two planes crashing into adjoining towers within minutes was not just an accident.”
Murdock continued to give a historic outline of the tragic day’s events.
“It became blaringly obvious that the unthinkable had happened, that America was under attack,” Murdock said. “News reports jumped back and forth flashing images of two cities under siege.”
“The normal flow of life across the country had come to a screeching halt,” his account continued. “While a nation stood riveted in front of television screens.”
Murdock recollected that in the days and weeks immediately following the travesty, Americans could be seen in great numbers putting their hands over their hearts during the recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance or during the singing of the “National Anthem.” People prayed in the streets and frequented churches to pray for those who lost their lives.
Murdock pointed out he has witnessed a downturn in the level of patriotism in the country over the years following 2001. He stated an increase in this negative trend. Murdock provided a list of indicators such as school children choosing not to recite “The Pledge of Allegiance,” and the increased dangers faced by the brave men and women of our police forces. He offered locals the need for urgency in acting to improve the level of respect for our great nation.
“Let the tide be turned now, let it start here in Fredericktown Missouri,” Murdock said. “Let it be known that we support our police officers; the city, the county and the state officers, that we are thankful for their service for their daily (risking) of their lives to protect ours.”
The ceremony was highlighted by the emotion-invoking performances of “The Star Spangled Banner” by singer Jennie Revelle and playing of “Taps” by trumpeter Tyler Reese. Madison County Presiding Commissioner Bob Mooney closed the ceremony with an invitation for those in attendance to enter the courthouse for refreshments.
The remembrance was well attended by city and county police, fire, EMS, officials, personnel, area veterans, clergy and citizens.
Traci M. Black is a reporter for the Democrat News and can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.