September 11th

My youngest brother, a retired firefighter and paramedic, is currently the president of the Western Reserve Fire Museum. Today, on the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, they held a short ceremony to commemorate and remember the ultimate sacrifice made by so many firefighters and other emergency personnel that day.

The program:

WelcomeJames Bell, President, Western Reserve Fire Museum
National AnthemCleveland Institute of Music Brass Ensemble
Opening PrayerCaptain Joe Mason Cleveland Fire Dept., (Ret.)
Movement of FlagCleveland Fire Depart. Honor Guard
Opening RemarksJames Bell
Guest SpeakersGreg Glauner, Chief of Brunswick Fire Dept.
Michael Millet, Chaplain Bedford Fire Dept., (Ret.)
Musical Selection“America the Beautiful”   –   CIM Brass Ensemble
Tolling of the BellLt. Robert Szabo Cleveland Heights Fire Dept., (Ret.)
Playing of “Taps”CIM Brass Ensemble
Closing Prayer:Captain Joe Mason & Chaplain Michael Millet
Musical Selection“Amazing Grace”   –   CIM Brass Ensemble
Closing RemarksJames Bell

It was patriotic but not partisan, holy but not particularly sectarian, at one level completely formulaic but still deeply moving to me. Both Chief Glauner and Chaplain Millet were among the thousands of firefighters who spontaneously left their communities, their families, and their normal lives to come to NYC to assist, in whatever ways small or large that they could, their brothers and sisters in the fire service who had been so grievously hurt. Each spoke of how they didn’t see themselves as heroes, but as just serving their calling.

Each also spoke to the unity our nation had in those dark days of later September 2001, and how we needed it back. Neither could say exactly how we would get there – both were good enough to not mention any politician or political position as either the cause or remedy. But I felt a CALLthat should be repeated nationwide – for each of us to try to bring ourselves, our minds and our hearts, back to that time of cooperation and common purpose.

And I – one who has never served like that, never laid it all on the line for my fellows, yet one who is deeply moved by the service of those who do – I will do my utter best to answer that call.

This entry was posted in about living, big ideas. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.