Moving Tribute Ceremonies on 20th Anniversary of 9/11

 

The settings at the Prowers County Fairgrounds were familiar to anyone who had attended past Tri-State 9/11 Tributes; the grandstands, the speakers, the Hall of Honor… but this year’s event held a particular poignant atmosphere given that it was highlighted by a call of national and personal reflection with the measurement of 20 years gone by and in light of the painful loss of Wiley students just several days earlier.

Tom Tudor

Tom Tudor was the featured speaker at the Tribute.  Tudor served as a sentinel and relief commander at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from February 1969 to Memorial Day of 1970. He is the past President and Board Member of the Society of the Honor Guard – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  He recapped how Arlington Cemetery took precautionary measures on September 11, 2001, to safeguard the resting place of so many of the nation’s war-dead.

 

This year’s parade honored 2021 Grand Marshall Wayne Clausen as well as Bryson Schemahorn for 2020 as that event had been cancelled due to pandemic safeguards.  A special observance was noted by the prominent position given to honor those Wiley Panther students, included on the Sheriff’s official vehicle which preceded the majority of the parade.

Although it was a typically hot, late summer day for southeast Colorado, the absence of strong winds made for a perfect showcase with parachutists displaying their talents as the Air Force Academy Wild Blue Wing Parachutists descended from the skies. 

 

Hall of Honor Display

Each jumper displayed a flag of representation for the Armed Services, capped by the American Flag which showcased the skills and talents as each parachutist landed, one after another, to the rear of the fairground’s broadcast booth and pens.

Pledge of Allegiance at Fairgrounds

Doug Harbor, Tribute originator, addressed the crowd on the particular significance of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.  What began as a small gathering of citizens, standing in front of the Prowers County Courthouse, has grown into an annual symbol of our love of country and an opportunity to express thanks to our military, law enforcement, first responders and EMS personnel.

By Russ Baldwin

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