Like many of you, I remember exactly the moment when the planes hit the Twin Towers. I was sitting in my office at West Virginia Northern Community College when a student rushed in to say that there had been a terrible accident in New York City. As the day unfolded, we all realized that it was no accident; America was under attack.
We were collectively angry and deeply saddened at this senseless aggression. Our feelings of national invulnerability had been shaken to the core.
It is difficult to believe that it has been twenty years since that day. It still feels very immediate. Our country has never forgotten and hopefully, it never will.
In 2020 we were confronted by a new adversary; however, this time it had no face. The COVID-19 pandemic brought not only America but the world to its knees. We are now in a measured recovery as we await the coming months.
Today I want to speak of heroes and gratitude. The heroes among us who risk their own health and safety every day so that we may remain healthy and safe. We all witnessed great heroism on September 11, 2001, as firefighters and others rushed toward the towers with abandon. They are the stuff of legend. They are the embodiment of self-sacrifice.
Our firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, police officers, and all front-line workers who keep communities all over this nation moving in the gravest of times are heroes of this age and time. We owe them our gratitude. We are blessed to have them.
In 2020 and still today our heroes risk their health by continuing to give to us during the pandemic. Some have succumbed to the disease or had family members who did, and yet they continue to show up; for us.
This year, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and after more than a year of COVID-19 fatigue, we have an opportunity to honor our local heroes and the families who support them. We hope that you will join us in the celebration.
On September 11, 2021, the Wetzel-Tyler Chamber of Commerce will coordinate a volunteer coalition of local businesses and caring citizens in delivering meals to first responders across Tyler and Wetzel Counties. Festivities for all first responders and their families will be held in New Martinsville and all are welcome. Please check our website by clicking the button below for the events schedule. If you wish to make a monetary donation to this effort, or to volunteer to deliver meals, please contact our office at 304-455-3825 or fill out the contact form on our website.
This is our opportunity, as a community, to say "thank you" to all of our dedicated first responders for their continued service.
A very special thank you to the Tyler County Commission and the Wetzel County Commission for their very generous donations that have made this recognition event possible.