GEORGETOWN – Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 was a time to again remember, and never forget.
First responders and civilians remembered 9/11 in a weather-altered event held at Georgetown Fire Company Station 77.
“We are here tonight for one purpose, honoring those, the almost 3,000 that perished on 9/11,” said William Kittrell, a member of Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Bridgeville.
Seventeen years have passed since terrorists toppled the majestic Twin Towers and fractured America’s military nerve-cell. A fourth hijacking was foiled in rural southwest Pennsylvania.
Some 2,996 people were killed and over 6,000 others injured in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane – United Airlines Flight 93 – that crashed in a field near Shanksville, apparently short of its intended target, possibly the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington.
Korean War combat veteran Walter Koopman shared his thoughts on the 9/11 hijackings carried out by Islamic terrorists.
“They were here in the United States of America, our homeland,” said Mr. Koopman. “They literally went and took flying instructions to only take off; nothing about landing? They did all this damage in Manhattan to the Twin Towers, then to the Pentagon and then … we’ll never know. Maybe someday we can ask the Lord when we get there, what really happened in that cockpit (Flight 93)? I believe in my mind as a Christian that they rammed that pilots’ area and diverted that plane from coming back to either the Capitol or The White House. Thank you, God, for those heroes on that plane.”
“They came here 17 years ago and this is my theory and many of my veteran friends and some of our officials will agree with me, that they have never left. They are still here,” Mr. Koopman said. “Pray to God, be vigilant and be safe.”
The event, facilitated by the County Seat Cruisers car club, was scaled back and moved from the scheduled Georgetown Little League venue to the fire station due to a stormy forecast.
The Bayside 4, a harmonic women’s quartet, entertained with several patriotic songs, and Sussex County songbird Cathy Gorman offered several songs, including Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love.”
Sussex Tech High School’s Army JROTC presented the colors.
Police officers from more than a half dozen local law enforcement agencies, Sussex County EMS paramedics and several fire companies responded as special invited guests.
Mr. Kittrell applauded the actions of first responders, those on hand for Tuesday’s ceremony – and the 412 emergency responders, which included 343 fire-fighters – who perished while responding to save others on 9/11.
“The courage of the first responders … when trouble was happening there, they are going to the trouble. There is something to be said about that,” said Mr. Kittrell.
Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes, who had a long career with Delaware State Police, offered his new perspective as a first responder and the father of a first responder.
“I have served a number of years as a first responder in many different capacities. But things have changed for me just in the past two years. I now have a daughter who is a first responder, and it’s different now. It was just me before. When I would go off to work, my wife would tell me, ‘Be careful,’ (daughters) would tell me, ‘Be careful, daddy,’” said Chief Hughes. “It’s way different when my Katie goes to work with the Sussex County paramedics. When I tell her, ‘Be careful, be safe,’ it comes from a place in my heart. I mean it every time I say it.”
Chief Hughes spoke about the good of the Georgetown community and the support it receives from its citizens, as do other towns across Sussex County.
“I also want us to remember, bad things happened 17 years ago,” said Chief Hughes, adding that diversity is what makes America so great. “People may look different and their faith may be different. But that is what makes us stronger in this world. People come up and they talk sometimes about wanting to close off everything and not be open to other people. We must, because that is what we are. And that is what makes us stronger.”
In closing, the chief cited one of his favorite biblical passages. “If you can believe, all things are possible,” Chief Hughes said. “I believe in the United States of America. I believe in the people of Sussex County. And I believe we have hearts and minds that will let us embrace everybody and we will still enjoy our way of life.”