September 11 is a time of remembrance, a time to look back on the acts of heroism that took place in the face of a great terror that struck our nation 17 years ago.

Vernon Parish made sure to honor those that gave their lives during that fateful day, holding a special ceremony to commemorate those fallen heroes that charged in at the first sign of danger.

The ceremony, held and hosted by the Vernon Parish Fire District Chaplain Corp and Honor Guard, is the 4th annual ceremony commemorating the first responders that worked to save civilian lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The ceremony was held at the Veterans Plaza, with several fire fighters, police officers, EMS and other public responders in attendance.

“It was a great turn out this year, with over 80 people coming out to support us,” Vernon Parish Fire District 1 Honor Guard Commander Ray Hough said. “It took a lot of leg work, asking several people to come out and help make it a special occasion, trying to find public servants of each cloth come together to help us honor those very first responders who charged in during that time.”

The Chaplain Corp and the Honor Guard commemorated those first responders by having a tribute to each; a hat was brought forth by several members of the community and local governments to symbolize the courage and fortitude of those men and women.

The EMS hat was brought forth by Vernon Parish coroner Shawn Granger; the police officer hat was brought forth by Anacoco Fire Department Chief Michael Laughlin; and the Firefighter helmet was presented by Carol Adams of the Simpson Volunteer Fire Department.

Special guests were present to add to the tribute, with Anacoco Mayor Keith Lewing bringing forth a red rose for the ceremony, while Simpson Mayor Vickie Standifer presented a white rose.

Mayor Rick Allen was in attendance, along with special guest speaker Brigadier General Patrick Frank of the JRTC on Fort Polk.

The event lasted from 7 to 8 p.m., and saw time for reflection on what these brave and women did for their fellow Americans during 9/11, but what we can continue to do every day.

“We’re all connected, and everyone makes this nation a great place when we all work together to do our part,” Assistant Director of the Chaplain Corp and Honor Guard Shawn Waggoner said. “We’re not just mourning our losses from that day or honoring their heroism; we’re honoring heroism in general.

“Everyone has what it takes to achieve that level of heroism, we all have that within us to be brave. We’re honoring our men and women working to preserve our way of life today, but we’re also celebrating the American spirit that cannot falter.”