Memorial To Mark 20 Years Since 9/11

Walk to remember the lost continues

Members of the Angier Black River Fire Department, dressed in full turnout gear, participate in the 9/11 Memorial Walk in 2019. Out front in the center is Fire Chief Jay Smith. DAILY RECORD PHOTOS / LAURA PATTERSON

By Emily Weaver
Dunn Daily Record

ANGIER – For eight years, firefighters with the Angier & Black River Fire Department have suited up, tanked up and geared up for a heavy 1.1 mile walk to remember the brothers they lost in 9/11.

The turnout gear alone weighs 45 pounds. Extra equipment like ropes and axes add even more.

“It’s probably between 50 and 65 pounds with the packs and stuff like that,” said Angier & Black River Fire Lt. Richard Beasley.

And every year, on Sept. 11, the firefighters step off on their solemn walk in the heat of summer. But they don’t complain.

Members of the Johnston County, North Carolina Wing, Civil Air Patrol squadron, which meets at the Johnston County Regional Airport in Smithfield, joined the 9/11 Memorial Walk in 2019 for the second year. The unit is under the leadership of Commander Lt. Col. Donald Beckett. Forming the color guard in front, from left, are Cadets Samuel Cherney, Samantha Ashworth, Veronica Grimm, Katiana Cox and William Nesbit. DAILY RECORD PHOTOS / LAURA PATTERSON

“The reason we do it every year is to remember the ones from 9/11, the firefighters, EMS, police and all the first responders that passed away,” Beasley said. “It’s just a small remembrance that we can do to keep their memory alive.”

This year, the firefighters will start their walk around 11:45 a.m. and wind their way to the Crepe Myrtle Celebration at the Depot for a special reception remembering 9/11.

Terrorists hijacked four passenger planes that day — 20 years ago — turning them into deadly missiles that killed 2,977 people, including 441 first responders. More than 340 of them were firefighters.

Members of the community follow first responders from the Angier Black River Fire Department walking in the 2019 9/11 Memorial Walk. DAILY RECORD PHOTOS / LAURA PATTERSON

The 9/11 remembrance ceremony will begin at noon Saturday at the Crepe Myrtle Celebration.

“Anyone in the audience who is active or retired military and/or first responders will be recognized,” said Shelby Blackmon, executive director of the Angier Chamber of Commerce. “Angier Rotary is allowing us to use 20 of the flags they use for Flags for Heroes for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. They will be placed around the front of the stage.”

Rick Gutierrez of Anthem Church will give the introduction, followed by a recognition of special guests, a moment of silence and a presentation of colors from Harnett Central High’s JROTC.

The Anthem Church Praise Team will sing the national anthem and “God Bless America” before Gutierrez offers the final prayer.

This framed copy of the poem ‘The Empty Chair’ is displayed at the entrance to the Angier Black River Fire Department during the 2019 9/11 Memorial Walk. DAILY RECORD PHOTOS / LAURA PATTERSON

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