Barton speakers honor 9/11 responders’ sacrifice

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Dozens gathered near Barton College’s center campus Monday to not only remember those who lost their lives 16 years ago, but also to give thanks to those who serve and keep the community safe each day.

Students, staff and first responders attended Barton’s annual Sept. 11 remembrance service held at the Aileen and Bill Parish Plaza at Howard Chapel Monday morning. The service marked the 16th anniversary of 9/11 when terrorists hijacked airplanes that crashed into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Barton President Doug Searcy said Monday’s service was a time to pause and think about those who gave their lives and where people were and whom they were with when those tragic events unfolded.

He said even though there has been a passing of time, America’s resolve remains consistent.

“As a county we learned about resilience and heroism,” Searcy said. “We are grateful for our liberty and civil servants within our own community. Today we are here to remember and honor those who died and gave their lives and to say thank you.”

A moment of silence was held as well as special musical performances by students.

The Rev. Jamie Eubanks, Barton’s chaplain, led a prayer where he asked that the community remember those who were left scarred by the events and others who ran into those buildings and risked their lives to save others.

He asked that attendees remember first responders in the Wilson community who put their lives on the line each day so that American citizens can be safe.

“I don’t know what we would have done without first responders,” Wilson Mayor Bruce Rose told the crowd. “We owe them a certain amount of gratitude for what they did then and what they do now.”

Wilson Police Sgt. Steve Stroud spoke to the crowd about what keeps first responders like himself dedicated to the communities they serve. He said without the community’s support, they could not do what they do each day. And he said they are motivated by the smiles and kindness from those they help on a daily basis.

“A police department is only as strong as its community,” he said.

First responders in attendance at the event Monday included the Wilson Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson County EMS and the N.C. Highway Patrol.