by Anita Miller
KYLE – “Have we forgotten?”
Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett posed that question to the few dozen people who gathered in a chilly breeze at the Kyle VFW on the morning of Friday, Sept. 11.
“Have we forgotten the fear we had that fateful morning when we watched in horror as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came down and the Pentagon was damaged after hijackers under the direction of Al Qaeda took over control of three commercial airlines?” he asked.
“Have we forgotten the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice” as 2,977 people died, including 343 New York City firefighters and 77 police officers, he asked.
A fourth airliner, possibly en route to the Capitol, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers managed to wrest control from four hijackers armed with box cutters, mace and tear gas.
The attacks, which began at 7:45 a.m. local time, was the deadliest for first responders, Barnett reminded those gathered.
As he recounted the horror and sacrifice of that morning, Barnett took time to remember individuals, including Rick Rescorla, who is credited with saving thousands of lives in the South Tower after the North Tower was hit. “He was last seen on the 10th floor of the South Tower going up, in order to save move lives,” Barnett said. Rescoria’s body was never recovered.
“Nineteen years later, the damage has been cleaned up and the new buildings and memorials have been built,” Barnett said. “The children of those killed are now adults and many have families of their own. Many of the search and rescue personnel have since died from illnesses acquired as a result of their actions that day.
“I wonder, have we forgotten?” he continued. “With what we see happening now, how do we expect future generations to remember” the time we all came together. “I worry about the future of our country, the loss of respect, the loss of compassion for others, the loss of service and of sacrifice. I urge you to stand up for those that serve, whether they are police officers, firefighters, EMS, rescue personnel, military or government leaders. Thank them for their service, their willingness to risk their lives to protect and save lives.”
After Barnett’s remarks, Kyle Fire Chief Kyle Taylor came to the podium, reminding those gathered that the need for service and sacrifice is still very real.
Later that day, three Kyle firefighters were scheduled to depart for California to help battle the devastating wildfires that have killed scores of people and wiped some towns completely off the map.
The state of Texas is sending 50 fire trucks to California, Taylor said, and expects to send another 40 to Oregon.
“Have we forgotten Sept. 12, 2001, when we were united, probably the most united we have ever been. We need to bring back the mindset we had that day. In California and Oregon it is neighbor helping neighbor, and we’re helping them.”