9/11 ceremony planned in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — A formal ceremony honoring first responders and the lives lost during the 9/11 terrorist attacks is set for noon Tuesday at the 9/11 Memorial Park.

The ceremony at what was previously called Francis Street Park will feature presentations by public safety officials, patriotic music and bagpipes, said Alan Barnard, who is organizing the event.

“It is easy to become complacent as the years pass, but the ever-present threat of terrorism and the never-ending challenges for our police and fire professionals must stay in our minds daily lest history may repeat itself in ominous ways,” Barnard said in an email.

“Our ceremony at the I Beam Monument and Public Safety Monument at the 9/11 Memorial Waterfront Park is our local effort to keep the memory alive in order to support preparedness for the future.”

An honor guard will perform a flag ceremony, the Grand Olympics Chorus will sing patriotic music and Rick McKenzie will play bagpipes.

Presentations by Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict, Port Angeles Police Chief Brian Smith and Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc are planned.

Sam Allen, petty officer first class in the United States Coast Guard and Cmdr. Hans Govertsen, executive officer at Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, also will be speaking.

Barnard said in previous years he had planned formal ceremonies, but it began to get difficult to organize everyone. In 2016, he helped plan an impromptu ceremony — the catalyst for the ceremonies that have happened since then.

After the ceremony at the park, McKenzie will play bagpipes at Veterans Memorial Park on Lincoln Street near the Clallam County Courthouse.

Barnard, chair and founder of the Clallam County Public Safety Tribute Committee, was instrumental, along with Coast Guardsmen Andrew Moravec and Allen, in obtaining a portion of an I-beam from the World Trade Center that rises skyward at the park.

The Coast Guardsmen asked the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey for the piece in 2009, and delivery was sanctioned by the 9/11 Commission.

It was pulled from a building where 2,752 people died, including 343 New York City firefighters, 37 Port Authority police officers and 23 New York City police officers.

“We honor all the citizens and Public Safety professionals who perished that horrific day and celebrate the good work done every day by our Public Safety men and women on our behalf to maintain our freedom and quality of life,” Barnard said.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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