9/11 rites honor heroes, victims

PORT ANGELES — Emergency first responders aren’t in it for the recognition.

They don’t sign up to be heroes.

They start their days expecting them to be routine, not to turn into dreadful events in which they’ll be the focus of a horrified nation.

Law enforcement officers and firefighters made the points Sunday at a noonday ceremony of remembrance at Francis Street Waterfront Park — remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001.

They and the 30-some civilians who gathered for the observance also made it one of gratitude for emergency responders’ everyday willingness to perform quiet acts of valor.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Department color guard, led by Sheriff Joe Martin, raised the United States flag to the top of the pole above the Waterfront Trail, then slowly lowered it to half staff.

It was the fourth such observance, a brainchild of Alan Barnard of Port Angeles, who spearheaded construction of a monument honoring emergency response personnel and dispatchers.

The monument doesn’t just honor fallen heroes. It thanks the living people who daily, in the words of Port Angeles Police Chief Tom Riepe, “lay our lives on the line for a complete stranger.”

Part of why they do so, Riepe said, is “that the community says they value us.”

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