LIMA — Where were you 19 years ago?
For those of us around back then, the memory is etched in our minds, never to be forgotten.
“We’re here on September the 12th and I feel like that was when we woke up that morning, really with resolve in our hearts to overcome,” said Lori McCollum, an organizer of Saturday’s Patriot’s Day ceremony at the Lima VFW parking lot. “We were attacked on 9/11. But we woke up with resolve on 9/12.”
Since then, things have changed for our police and our firefighters, and McCollum didn’t want them to be forgotten.
“We wanted them to know that the community supported them that even though there may be a voice that was speaking against them, we wanted our voice to be heard to let them know that there’s a large part of the community that is behind them,” McCollum said.
Lima Fire Chief Andy Heffner says it’s a day to remember those who responded to the 9/11 attacks.
“(It’s about) honoring selfless people —343 firefighters died on that day and along with dozens of police officers and EMS workers. They went into a building with no regard for their own safety, trying to help people they don’t even know —restaurant workers, office workers, tourists — and it’s not forgotten the sacrifice that they made,” Heffner said.
Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia was left with a clear memory of what happened on 9/11.
“I can remember like it was yesterday. It sends chills up my back when I remember the airplanes flying into those buildings, but today I just want to reflect on the military and law enforcement and firefighters and paramedics. I think there’s emergency room doctors and nurses that we forget sometimes that saved a lot of people and (we remember) our educators over the last 19 years to not let our kids forget this,” Treglia said.
Jim Baker, major with the Lima Police Department, also recalls the impact 9/11 had on him.
“We were talking about how our parents would say, ‘Well I remember where I was when Kennedy got killed.’ We’re like, how is that even (possible)? Now we know exactly how that’s possible. It’s so crucial that we remember and not forget that so many people lost their lives, and I’m so glad that it’s now called Patriot Day for Sept. 11. What a true definition of a patriot: someone that loves their country and is willing to give their life for others and their country,” Baker said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.