9/11 Memorial Service held at Pearson Park

9/11 Memorial Service held at Pearson Park

Members of the Greenville Public Safety Pipes and Drums performed ‘Taps’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ at Wednesday’s 9/11 Memorial Service at Pearson Park. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News

The memories of a horrific act of terrorism on U.S. soil will not be forgotten.

Across the nation Wednesday, there were ceremonies held to commemorate the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives with twice as many injured. Kinston was no different, as the annual 9/11 Memorial Service was held at Pearson Park.

“It’s been 18 years since the attacks on the Towers and Pentagon, along with the heroic act from the passengers on Flight 93 — people who sacrificed their lives to protect us,” Retired Kinston Fire and Rescue Chief David Ricke said. “A lot of us will have those memories with us: some who watched on television, others who were in New York or Washington D.C. For the younger generation, they weren’t born when the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks occurred, so it’s important to hold a ceremony like this to reach them.

“This was a day that should never be forgotten.”

Damien Locklear, the current Kinston Fire Chief, delivered the keynote speech at the event and said it was tough to gather his thoughts into words.

“The day after it happened, I tried to gather as many local newspapers, cut out images, laminated them and put them away,” Locklear said. “We understood it was a huge part of history, and my oldest — who’s a senior in high school now — wasn’t born.  They have to learn a part of the history.

“For me, it’s very difficult to think of the words to honor those who sacrificed it all. As public servants, whether it’s firefighters, law enforcement, or emergency services, we’re there to provide service at the drop of a hat. Firefighters enter burning structures to save lives, law enforcement officials do that to silence criminal activity in the community and medics do their part to allow family members to tell others they love them when they thought their lives were lost. We do our best to honor those we lost by living life to the fullest.”

Kinston Mayor Don Hardy said the Sept. 11 attacks brought the masses together in solidarity for first responders.

“We came together in terms of supporting law enforcement, EMS and the fire department,” Hardy said. “When people think about 9/11, it invokes strong memories in Americans, deeply affected from the lives lost, and we come back to remember those sacrifices for those who looked to save others. We’re thankful for our first responders and emergency services.”

Kevin Cahilo, who plays drums for the Greenville Public Safety Pipes and Drums, said the memories of 9/11 can’t be forgotten.

“We remember what takes place here and hopefully, we never have to relive this again,” Cahilo said.

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