By Anne Eickstadt


On the 20th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, a large number of people came to participate in the memorial ceremony at the Belvidere Fire Department.

A few years ago, attendees at the Sept. 11 Memorial Ceremony could be listed as law enforcement, firefighters, two or three people from City Hall, and about a handful of other attendees. This year, the 20th anniversary of the attack, brought over 70 people to the fire station and State Street was blocked off to keep the attendees safe.

The ceremony began with Patrick Powers on bagpipes playing “Scotland the Brave” while attendees continued to gather.

Fire Chief Hyser welcomed everyone to the event and led the Pledge of Allegiance before acknowledging notables in attendance: Mayor Clint Morris, Boone County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Sheriff Perry Gay, Lt. Scott Yunk and his deputies, Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody, Sergeant Shane Pollnow and his shift officers, Pastor Adam Reardon, Lifeline crews David-12 and David-20, Belvidere Fire Department Captain Dave Burdick, Lt. Jason Swanson, and on-duty C Shift members, Capt. Shawn Schadle, and fire dept. retiree Cpt. Bill Toft. He continued on to welcome family members and citizens of Belvidere and Boone County.

Pastor Reardon said a prayer, Mayor Morris enumerated the loss of life during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2011, and Chief Hyser began his remarks.

“So, what were you doing 20 years ago at this time?” Hyser said. “Where were you at? Whom were you with? Some of us remember distinctly and others have heard about 9/11 through history books or the stories that are told. 

“This is a day of solemn history and a day of awakening. Our country not only remembers the evil of the world and the human heart, but also the heroes and sacrificial acts of heroism. It is good as a community to gather and remember. In a time of division and blame, today is a day of gathering, gratitude, and patriotism. It is Patriots Day in the United States of America. Recent world events remind us how people long for what we have here in America and its more than just prosperity–it’s our basic freedom.

“Today we remember so we can give thanks to those who sacrificed along with their families. We remember so we can avoid future mistakes. We remember so we can learn and be prepared for what lies ahead in our God-given callings. Remembrance will guide us into a better today and tomorrow.

“Let’s talk about heroes. Heroes are those who serve in the line of duty for causes greater than self. True heroism is never planned and heroes are never repaid for their acts of sacrifice. We remember that after 9/11 our country came together in amazing ways. We recall this day well because the greatest nation on earth was humbled by surprise destruction and terror. We were also humbled to watch first responders value human life at great personal cost. We are still grateful when it happens today.

“When we think of 9/11, a lot of the focus is on New York and the tremendous loss of life there. What at times we lose sight of is the losses that happen at home. On Nov. 8, 2004, Belvidere suffered a horrible loss of one of our finer sons. Marine Lance Corporal Brandon P. Ramey was killed by enemy action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I would like to have a moment of silence to honor him.”

Silence followed.

“Today we remain vigilant! We remain devoted to do our best and are committed to what brings the best to others. Over the last 20 years, men and women have risen to the higher callings and some have given their all. Over the last 20years, it has been easy to slip back into taking too many things for granted, including family, friends, community, and freedom. It remains true that freedom is not free. As leaders, servants, and citizens of Belvidere and Boone County, this dedication and recommitment begins with us. May this 20th Anniversary Remembrance of 9/11 renew us all.”

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