Annual Tri-State 9/11 Tribute Set to Honor Active Military, First Responders, and Veterans


LAMAR, Colorado — The Tri-State 9/11 Tribute, honoring active military, first responders, and veterans, will take place on September 11, 2021, from 10 am to 11 am for the parade and then from 11 am to 6 pm at the Prowers County Fairgrounds in Lamar, Colorado.

The event is the brainchild of Doug Harbour, a Vietnam War veteran and longtime medical technician who launched it in 2010 to recognize the efforts of first responders and the sacrifices of veterans.

“It is our purpose to recognize and honor 1st Responders, Dispatchers, and Military Personnel, past and present. This event is held annually on the Saturday closest to September 11th and is promoted at absolutely no charge to our participating heroes and at no or minimum cost to the general public. In addition to recognizing those who serve, we hope to act as a venue for promoting a sense of pride in our community and our country, including a greater sense of patriotism in our youth,” says Harbour.

This year’s event will run all day and include a mile-long parade with a Mounted Cavalry Color Guard from Fort Carson, a 4th Infantry Division Marching Band, approximately 24 military vehicles, dozens of police, fire, and EMS vehicles, and lots of civilian entries.

Parachutists from the US Air Force Academy will descend into the arena as the National Anthem is sung, followed by a formal ceremony honoring soldiers as Grand Marshals.

Guest speakers will include Tom Tudor, a former sentry in Arlington National Cemetery, and Chip Kossow, the Colorado State Commander of the American Legion. The ceremony will close with a 21-gun salute fired by Fort Carson’s 75mm Honor Battery.

Due to last year’s COVID restrictions, the 9/11 observance was a small, socially distanced, outdoor event at the 9/11 Memorial north of Lamar on US Hwys 50 and 287 and next to Big Timbers Museum and the Santa Fe Trail marker.

With COVID restrictions lifted, this year will have Scouts conducting a Flag Retirement Ceremony prior to the BBQ, more vendors, a children’s bounce house, a climbing wall, police laser tag, a demo by a renowned chainsaw artist, a static display of a military stryker unit, a Corp of Engineers water safety course, and a band playing bluegrass and country music. A highlight will be all the 1st Responder Units on display following the parade, including an air ambulance helicopter.

The last large Tri-State 9/11 Tribute in 2019 drew parade attendees, spectators, and participants from Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. It is estimated that around 1,500 attended the free BBQ for all 1st Responders and Military, past and present. Other attendees paid $5 to help offset expenses.

Tri-State 9/11 Tribute History

The Tri-State 9/11 Tribute was founded to honor all 1st Responders and Military, past and present, while at the same time promoting a sense of patriotism in today’s youth.

Its 2010 inaugural event was held on the Prowers County Courthouse lawn with approximately one dozen 1st Responder and Military units, a jet fly-over, and nearly 300 spectators. In the following years, the event has grown to become one of the largest in all of southeastern Colorado.

Due to its initial success, the Tri-State 9/11 Tribute expanded to include a parade and a BBQ free to all 1st Responders and Military units, past and present. Local scouts, a school marching band, and units from Texas and Kansas then joined. Shortly thereafter, the Prowers County Commissioners opened the county fairgrounds for the event.

Today, the Tri-State 9/11 Tribute includes the Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard as its lead element in the parade followed by a Grand Marshall, a 4th Infantry Division Marching Band, and military vehicles filled with WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Purple Heart Vets, and all of the 1st Responder units, plus many other entries.

The 9/11 Tribute Foundation has also designed a Veteran and First Responder Memorial that has been built on US Hwys 50/287, ½ mile north of Lamar and adjacent to Big Timbers Museum.  The concept was supported by the Prowers County Commissioners, Lamar City Council, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, El Pomar Foundation, Home Depot, and countless other businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Lindsay Diamond
Chief Storyteller

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