On Wednesday community members gathered at the Kitsap 9/11 Memorial in Bremerton to honor and reflect on the lives that were lost in the attacks on our nation 18 years ago.
The ceremony started with the presentation of colors by the United States Marine Corps Security Force Battalion of Bangor, followed by a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner by Klahowya Secondary School student Lindsey Templeton.
South Kitsap Fire & Rescue Chaplain Tim Roth gave a brief invocation remembering the tragic day and reflecting on those who were lost. Justin Cormier of Silverdale Lutheran Church followed with a rendition of God Bless America.
The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Rear Admiral Douglas Perry, Commander of Submarine Group Nine.
“I contend that this nation is stronger today than it was 18 years ago,” Perry began. “We are surrounded this evening by veterans who, in their legacy, established a history and tradition of service. They know what it means to defend this nation.”
“I contend that in 18 years we will be even stronger and the world will benefit from our commitment to defending free people who believe in democracy. We are the defenders of freedom around the globe.”
“Despite those 18 years, for many of us, those memories are as clear as the sky was that day in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania,” Perry went on. “We can visualize the ash-covered first responders pressing to save any and every life they could. We still feel that loss. We remember.”
“When our country had been challenged, we come together. That is who we are as Americans. Our Navy is determined to honor the memory of those who were lost by working every day to ensure we never sustain an attack on our soil again.”
The ceremony concluded with Jack Leininger and Jimmy Schmauch performing Taps, followed by the American flag being raised again to full-mast by VFW Post 239 Commander John Gifford.