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First responders remembered, honored at 9/11 memorial on Whidbey

Capt. Mike Nortier joins Whidbey Island Naval Air Station leaders and first responders in a pensive moment during a bagpipe song honoring the fallen. - Janis Reid / The Record
Capt. Mike Nortier joins Whidbey Island Naval Air Station leaders and first responders in a pensive moment during a bagpipe song honoring the fallen.
— image credit: Janis Reid / The Record

The sound of jet noise behind Wednesday’s 9/11 Memorial seemed appropriate to Capt. Mike Nortier, commanding officer of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

“That is the sound of young men and women preparing to defend their country,” Nortier said.

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the United States, an event that cost nearly 3,000 lives.

Local Navy and civilian first responders attended the Wednesday morning event to remember those who lost their lives.

“Events such as today’s event, not only recognize the significance of that event, it also honors the victims of 9/11, their families, first responders and the men and women serving in or supporting our armed forces,” Nortier said.

Wednesday officially marked Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, usually shortened to simply “Patriot Day” and was so named by the U.S. Congress on Oct. 25, 2001 in observance of the terrorist attacks.

Sean Merrill, NAS Whidbey Island Fire Department battalion chief, also spoke at the event. He urged first responders to always “be prepared.”

“Our job is to always be prepared, do our best and pass it on,” Merrill said. “Today, we remember by gathering around the flag, reading some names and praying … but we should do that stuff every day.”

The ceremony included a moment of silence, the reading of the Firefighter’s Prayer and the traditional ringing of the bell.

Nortier noted that Sept. 11 also marks the first anniversary of last year’s attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission at Benghazi, Libya.

That attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the first ambassador to lose his life to the country in more than 30 years, Nortier said.

“Today is a day for remembering who we are as Americans, for our values, our strength and persistence in fighting our adversaries,” Nortier said.

“We must always remember and honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, and commit ourselves to defend the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans.”

 

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