SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s emergency responders gathered around the flag pole at the Sheridan Fire-Rescue building this morning to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.
The ceremony was timed, down to the minute, to correlate with the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Sheridan’s emergency responders stood at attention while the fire station bell rang 5-5-5, a traditional symbol of respect and honor for those who sacrifice for the greater good of the community. After an invocation and releasing of doves, the group gathered in the fire station to share a few minutes of memories and camaraderie.
While Sheridan is thousands of miles away from ground zero, for many the raw feelings from the attacks a dozen years ago hits close to home.
“It catches you in the heart to think about what happened that day, and what’s happened to this world since then,” said Bob Symons, who was a fireman for 28 years and now works for the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security. “So, it’s important for us to do this.”
Sheridan Fire-Rescue Captain Greg Luhman said the department wanted to pay tribute to the emergency responders who lost their lives on 9/11.
“We don’t want this forgotten,” he said. “It’s a huge part of our history, and we need to remember those sacrifices.”
Luhman said in addition to the emotional toll of witnessing the unprecedented violence on American soil, he is heartened by the way the community united to help.
“It really pulled us into it,” he said. “We did fundraisers and all kinds of things, and we wanted to keep that spirit of remembering the sacrifice people made.”
Dr. Fred Araas, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II, came with his daughter to the ceremony to mark the historical significance of the day.
“The morning of the attack on the towers, I happened to turn on the TV and I saw the plane hit one of the towers,” he said, adding that he remembers being shocked by the images.
“I think it’s very appropriate they have this ceremony and keep that going to remind us of how important it is to be prepared at all times,” Araas said.
SFR has acquired two pieces of the World Trade Center that were recovered from the wreckage after the attacks.
The pieces will be incorporated into a memorial with the help of Sheridan College. Luhman said the completed display should be in place by next year.
Like today’s date, the memorial will serve as a continual reminder of a nationally shared tragedy and the bravery, sacrifice and unity that followed.