Commemorating 9/11 Memorial at Pelco by Schneider Electric
Hundreds of people of all ages flocked to Pelco by Schneider Electric in Clovis to attend their 16th annual 9/11 Memorial ceremony, Sept. 11. Public servants, firemen, policemen, military personnel and civilians gathered to remember the first responders and innocent lives lost that day, 16 years ago.
To commence the 2017 ceremony, men mounted on horses and trotted past the assembly. Subsequently, various divisions of law enforcement marched in unison towards the base of the 9/11 Memorial. The ceremony then paused to play a radio dispatch clip at 8:46 a.m., the same time it was spoken 16 years earlier.
Clovis Fire Captain Jim Stemler, who annually participates in the ceremony, gave his perspective on the importance of the 9/11 Memorial. Stemler’s hope is that through various ceremonies, like Pelco’s, the American people will always remember the events and magnitude of 9/11.
“The importance of this ceremony is to never forget,” Stemler said. “It reminds people and gives them time to reflect on the events, not only what they were doing that day, but on all the lives that were lost that day and on the military and other public safety people that died since that time. The message the public safety team wants to share here is that we care, we remember and we honor those that have come before us as much as we honor the people that we serve.
“They had the choice of running from the incident but they chose not to,” Stemler continued. “They all chose to stay and help as many people as they could and ultimately paid the ultimate sacrifice for that so we honor their heroic effort. We open it up to the public because we appreciate their support and it provides an opportunity to honor all those people so we can truly never forget.”
The memorial was erected a few months after Sept. 11 when David McDonald, former CEO of Pelco, spent a million dollars to build it. McDonald then flew out 1,300 firefighters, policemen and other volunteers at his own expense for the dedication of the 9/11 Memorial, Dec. 8, 2001.
Retired Clovis firefighter Kent Burkhart was able to connect to some of the firefighters McDonald flew out.
“This is an extraordinary day that needs to be remembered forever,” Burkhart said. “I had friends that were New York firefighters but I didn’t know them at the time of 9/11. But because of this event I got to know six of them very well. When I go back to New York I stay in their house or in their firehouse and march in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade with them to support them. They got through it but I can’t imagine losing half of my firehouse.”
Burkhart feels very thankful for the support American people showed towards law enforcement and firemen after the attacks on 9/11. However, he considers it sad a tragedy needed to occur to receive that gratitude.
“Everybody’s spirits were crushed,” Burkhart said. “The whole nation had to rally and support the military, firefighters and police officers. If you were in any of those services, people would bring by cookies and cake, and the support was phenomenal. People tend to forget about that kind of stuff. It’s unfortunate that a tragedy has to happen to get everybody stirred up and get their emotions running, bringing everybody together.”
Cal Fire 2881 Honor Guard members Dave Roberts and Tom Townsend voyaged from different parts of the state to march in the ceremony. For Roberts, performing serves as a way for him to honor his firefighter brothers and to ensure young people remember what happened that day.
“Young people should respond by taking note that the most horrific act of terror which took place on the mainland was perpetrated by terrorists who were trying to take us down and ruin our country,” Roberts said. “But the will of the American people won. So when something happens in your life, you don’t throw your hands up and give up, but you fight and stand for what you believe in and you will prevail.”
Townsend feels there is great importance in recognizing the cost of liberty, especially for tragedies such as 9/11 or Pearl Harbor in 1941.
“The foundation of our country fundamentally changed that day and it’s important we don’t forget it,” Townsend said. “Freedom isn’t free and every once in a while you have to pay the price to realize that. We lost a lot of people over there–more people on 9/11 than we lost at Pearl Harbor. To have liberty is not an easy thing to do. So by remembering these people, we remember that.”
The United States of America received its greatest loss on mainland soil, Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 men and women were lost forever due to the wicked intentions and actions of terrorists. Today, we must carry on as a united nation with one main goal–never forget.
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Slideshow below includes images from Pelco by Schneider Electric 16th annual 9/11 Memorial ceremony.
For more articles on the 9/11 Memorial, read 9/11 attacks unite, define America. For another featured article, read Member of Third Day becomes worship director at local church.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.