Sep 112011
Authors: Collette DeWitt

On Sunday the Poudre Fire Authority held a 10th anniversary remembrance event at Civic Center Park. The crowd watched silently as a Loveland fire truck raised an American flag in honor of those who lost their lives a decade ago.

The honor guards presented the colors, a wreath was placed by Ground Zero personal, people bowed their heads as the National Anthem was sung and helicopters flew overhead.

Randy Mirowski, Loveland Fire and Rescue Department Chief spoke about the tragic day that struck the hearts of many 10 years ago.

“This is a day to remember. It’s also a day to honor America,” Mirowski said. “On that day lives were lost. Families and relationships were shattered. Hopes and dreams lost. Our hearts were broken collectively because of this tragedy.”

Erin Mounsey, Director of the Northern Colorado Red Cross, spoke of how it’s always possible for these tragedies to strike unexpectedly and that people must be prepared.

“Preparedness can and will save lives and livelihoods,” Mounsey said.

Mounsey also spoke of how 9/11 brought out the good in people. “One of the worst days in American history brought out the best.”

“Together we responded. Together we recovered and together we have rebuilt,” Mounsey said.

Steve Main, manager of Poudre Hospital Emergency Services spoke of how this day affected an entire generation. “For this generation the defining moment became the terrorist attacks on 9/11.”

He went on to say that there was no better way to honor the first responders who lost their lives than to say their unfinished work carries on.

“It’s important we never forget this attack on American soil,” Chief Jerry Schiager of Fort Collins Police Services said. “Many paid the ultimate price.”

“They put uniforms on, laced their boots, kissed loved ones goodbye. They had no idea they wouldn’t return,” Schiager added.

Schiager described how people willingly put on their uniforms and responded to the calls coming in on that day. He reminded us that these people were willing to put their lives at risk to help others.

Sheriff Justin Smith of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office described, “Many chose to live their last moments as true heroes.”

“They lived as heroes so it’s not surprising they died as heroes,” Smith said. “We were all in this fight together.”

Stories of remembrance were shared. Speeches honoring and remembering the lost lives were spoken. 2,998 lives were lost that day, many of which were firefighters, policeman and emergency Services personal. This event was dedicated to these people.

Roll call was done. Eight names were called out and honored Larimer County Emergency Personal who responded to Ground Zero, Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn.

The flag was retired and given to Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. so the government would have a piece of what flew over Fort Collins on the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

One flag will also be sent to Golden, Colo. for a firefighter and his family.

Three shots rang out in the silence as a gun salute was given. A bell rang out as a sign of honor and respect for the firefighters who gave their lives. There were 15 tolls that rang out.

Patrick Love, Captain of Public Affairs & Education for the Poudre Fire Authority, spoke the closing words, “I ask you to never forget. May God bless America.”

_Collegian Writer Colleen DeWitt can be reached at _

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