By William C. Singleton III
It’s been 17 years since the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the Over the Mountain suburbs are doing their part to keep the memory and sacrifice of that day alive.
Hoover and the cities of Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills collectively will hold Patriot Day observances on Sept. 11.
Hoover will observe its Patriot Day ceremony at 8:30 a.m. at Hoover Fire Station 2, 1591 Patton Chapel Road near Gwin Elementary. Gen. Paul Pocoppani will be the guest speaker. Fire Chief Clay Bentley and Mayor Frank Brocato also are expected to speak. Simmons Middle School’s choir will sing the national anthem. About 30 people are expected to attend the ceremony, said Hoover Fire Capt. Joel West.
Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills have partnered together for a Patriot Day observance to be held at the Vestavia Hills City Hall, 1032 Montgomery Highway. Their ceremony will start at 8:30 a.m. with Col. Trever J. Nehls as the keynote speaker. About 100 people are expected to attend the ceremony, said Vestavia Hills Battalion Chief Shawn Jackson.
The three cities come together to celebrate the unity of their communities as they mark the day, Jackson said. The cities rotate the location of the observance each year. It was scheduled for Vestavia Hills last year but was canceled under threat of a hurricane, Jackson said.
“We’re small enough communities that when we all three get together, we’re a little bigger of a community,” he said. “This day is significant in the fact that this attack didn’t happen in war on a battle field. This was a community that was attacked. It was a community of firefighters, of police officers, of business people and a community of people of all nationality and backgrounds. It’s only fitting that we as communities come together and recognize another community that was affected by something like this.”
Nearly 3,000 people died on Sept. 11, 2001, as Al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four planes, crashing two of them into the World Trade Center towers and one into the Pentagon. Another plane – believed to be headed for the U.S. Capitol – crashed in a Pennsylvania field as passengers wrested control of the plane from terrorists.
Among those killed that day were firefighters and police officers who rushed into the towers to rescue people trapped in the buildings before they collapsed.
“We’re doing this so no one forgets,” West said. “It didn’t take long for this to get put on the backburner for most of the population, and this is a way for us to remember all of the citizens and all of the first responders who lost their lives in sacrifice for this country. It’s a way for us to remember them and pay our respect to them.”