9/11 Tribute Offered New Events and Views

Commemorative Tribute Medallion

The 6th Annual 9/11 Tri State Tribute featured some notable first-time inclusions on Saturday, September 9th.  The parade’s Grand Marshall, Colonel Charles Jones, a former Air Force Astronaut, was honored in memoriam this year. He was a passenger on Flight 11, the first of the two hijacked airplanes that were flown into the Twin Towers in Manhattan, New York in 2001.  He was personally represented in the parade and in the celebration by family members Dan and Susan Held.

Vietnam Era Huey Helicopter

The day also featured a replica Huey gun-ship helicopter which flew in Vietnam during that conflict.   Retired Colonel Bill McPherson and his group which showcases the helicopter served as helicopter pilots and crew in the mid to late 1960s in that war.  Several 75MM howitzers were also on hand at the Prowers County Fairgrounds and provided a thunderous 21 gun salute in honor of the occasion.

Marching Band

The traditional parade along South 6th and 9th Streets began at 10am and according to event organizer, Doug Harbour, included the Vietnam era helicopter as well as the return of the Fort Carson Mounted Honor Guard, the 4th Infantry Division Marching band and the bands from Lamar High and Middle Schools, as well as numerous local community groups and First Responder vehicles.  Following the parade, activities were focused at the Fairgrounds.

Mounted Honor Guard

Harbour said this year’s flag retirement ceremony provided something in the way of patriotic entertainment and information. As members of the Air Force folded the American Flag, John Sykes explained the history of the 13 folds, ranging from the original American colonies and honoring those who took part in various battles, from the War of 1812, both sides of the Civil War, World Wars 1 and 2, Korea and Vietnam and honored various groups such as the Boy Scouts and Armed Forces and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.  The flag, once folded, was presented to Sue Held.

Band in Arena

Harbour offered thanks to all who made the event possible, noting that he held back from the organization efforts at the arena and left a lot of the presentations to Lamar Police Officer Cory Forgue who has served as emcee for the event for the past several years. “We had a few timing glitches that kept us on our toes, but we managed to work around those and kept most everything on schedule,” he explained.

Doug Harbour with Certificate of Appreciation for Wily Fire Department

He apologized that he wasn’t able to include every contribution made to the event in the brochure.  “We overlooked the folks from the Wiley Fire Department and no slight of any kind was intended in that.  We’re grateful for the role everyone has played in making that day come to fruition. It’s become a community-wide project that depends on a lot of helping hands through the planning process.”

21 Gun Salute by Howitzers

Harbour didn’t spend much time in reflection, as he and his committee is focusing forward to beginning the final details of the Tribute Memorial, planned for the southern tip of land at Big Timbers Museum along Highway 287. “We have about $40,000 raised so far, but we have a way to go on that.  All we need is some land and elevation readings and completed permits and we can begin with the preliminary work,” he said.  Most of the electric work is set and rebar for the cement has been provided for, “But we need to schedule some timing on the cement as a lot of that is going into the wind turbine construction and for the new highway.”

Some extra funding will come from the sale of commemorative medallions which display some of the artwork that will go into the centerpiece for the memorial. “We’ve made 200 of these and have started selling them for $20 apiece.  They’re available from Community State Bank right now and we may need to have more made up,” he stated.  New funding will be applied to the bas-relief type mural which depicts three individuals which will face the viewer and represents first responders, soldiers and law enforcement.  “I hope to be able to receive hallowed earth taken from the crash site of Flight 93 from the field in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon and from the Twin Towers and have it displayed at the memorial.”

By Russ Baldwin

(Editor’s Note:  Many thanks to Claudia Gill and those who provided photo events of the day)

Filed Under: City of LamarCity of WileyCountyEconomyEducationEntertainmentEventsFeaturedHistoryPublic SafetyRecreationYouth


About the Author: