BAXTER SPRINGS — The Baxter Springs Fire Department did their part in paying tribute to fellow firefighters and civilians who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks.
Members of the fire department put together a memorial service for the city of Baxter to attend as well as purchased a bench that is now placed outside of the fire station dedicated to those who lost their lives and to the attack.
Former Baxter Springs Fire Chief and Pastor Stacey Elsworth said an opening prayer to start the ceremony at 7:30 a.m.
The fire department scheduled the ceremony to coincide with the events that took place that day including moments of silence and sirens sounding at the time each tower was hit.
The ceremony included the presenting of the colors as well as a 21 gun salute by the Miami American Legion Post 147, winners of the high school and middle school essay contest readings, guest speakers, a flag presentation, singing by the Baxter Springs High School Honor Choir and the presentation of the new memorial.
High school student and essay winner Colton Krokoskia said he was honored and glad he could say what was on his mind where people could hear.
“I entered the contest and I was lucky enough to be picked,” Krokoskia said.
Many of the guest speakers told stories of where they were when the towers were hit, of watching everything unfold on the news and how it affected them in their lives.
Baxter Springs Mayor Jennifer Bingham said she thought it had been an amazing morning of remembrance. She said she was very proud of the firemen for putting together the ceremony and felt it showed an exemplary amount of pride for the firemen.
“It is the epitome of honor,” Bingham said.
Kansas State Representative Doug Gatewood also had good things to say about the ceremony.
He said he thought it was nice that everyone still remembers and nice how the community came together for the memorial. He said he felt it really gave everyone a chance to remember how much the first responders do for them.
“First responders lay their lives on the line every time they respond,” Gatewood said.
Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce President Charlene Hunley also felt the ceremony was outstanding.
“A lot of work went into it and the ceremony goes well with what Baxter is known for,” Hunley said.
Many of the community members came together to honor the memories of those involved with 9/11 and to remember what it means to be an American.