Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Irving—The Irving Police and Fire Departments hosted a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in the Irving Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday, Sept. 11. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks that changed our lives.

Kayte Roberts helped organize the event.

“Anna from fire contacted me awhile back, because she and [Batallion Chief Gabriel Grove] decided we really need to honor the 20th anniversary of September 11,” Roberts said. “We figured out the best way to honor all the people who passed in that horrible event. We got our honor guards together, and we did a little practice and put somethings together.”

The event was structured around the timeline of the 9/11 attacks. At each significant time, the ceremony would stop for a moment of silence. The procession from the Fire Administration Building began at 8:46a.m., which is when the attack on the North Toweroccurred.

“We weren’t sure what kind of turn out we would have,and we’re pleasantly surprised with how many people are here,” Roberts said.”

City Councilman Al Zapanta attended the event.

“We’re honoring all the fire and police and many of us in the military,” Zapanta said. “I retired after thirty-six years in the army.[We’re honoring] what they had to deal with on that day 20 years ago.

“Twenty years ago, we were going into Afghanistan, and I was at the Department of the Defense at the time. I’m here for a lot of reasons, but mainly to salute and honor all our men and women in uniform, whether they are fire or police or the military. There are a lot of other volunteers across the board, so this is a very special day of remembrance.”

Bob Bourgeois is originally from New York.

“It’s just terrific that Irving is taking the time to honor the first responders,” Bourgeois said. “We are originally from New York, and obviously, we had a lot of friends and people who were touched by the events of 9/11.We like Irving and are very involved in the community, and we know a lot of the people who are active in the community. The fact that they are honoring our first responders is terrific.

“[The ceremony] brings everyone out. Everyone gets a chance to say thank you and tell them how much we appreciate everything they do.”

Gabriel Grove, a battalion chief in the Irving Fire Department, is also the honor guard commander for the department. He spoke about the impact 9/11 had on fire departments around the country.

“9/11 represents a major event within all fire departments within the nation,” Grove said. “We put this event together to commemorate not only the fire fighters, but everyone who was lost on that tragic day.

“[9/11] truly impacted the fire department. It is the most tragic event in our fire department, in any fire department. As we lost 343 fire fighters that day. We as far as most of America watched it all happen on TV. Watching those buildings come down and taking the lives of all those individuals, permanently affected everybody who saw it. There is nobody I know of that couldn’t tell me exactly what they were doing when those buildings came down. It was a very tragic event, and for fire fighters it brought the realization that our job is that serious and we can lose it any time.

“I think [the ceremony] is a good way to honor. It brings the community together, so they can see what we have going on.It allows us as firemen to acknowledge other firefighters for this day, and that we haven’t forgotten the events of that day.”