Dawson plans service to honor 9-11 anniversary
A local pastor is on a mission to ensure no one forgets the brave men and women who lost their lives on Sept. 11, or fails to recognize those who continue to serve the community and the country.
Rev. Bill Dawson, pastor of the Sistersville United Methodist Church and Chaplain of the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department, took his plan before the Sistersville City Council Monday evening. “The 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 is coming up, and I’ve been working with some people in town to plan a parade and memorial service,” he explained.
“The images of Sept. 11, 2001 are etched in the memories of Americans everywhere,” remarked Rev. Dawson. “To honor the service and dedication of those who bravely answered the call in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, I would like the Governor of the State of West Virginia to sign a proclamation stating that throughout the state of West Virginia,on Sept. 11, 2011, we honor the men and women who currently serve as firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMS workers, both volunteerand professional.”
The parade will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 in Sistersville. Line-up will begin at 12:45 p.m. on Riverside Drive.
The parade route will follow north on Riverside Drive and proceed to Virginia Street. It will continue on W.Va. 2, south through the stop light, and the downtown business district on Wells Street. At WesBanco, the parade will follow west on Charles Street to Riverside Drive and then proceed south to the Sistersville City Park, where a memorial service will commence. Businesses and home owners along the parade route are encouraged to decorate in patriotic colors.
During the service, prayers will be offered and wreaths laid in remembrance of firefighters, police officers, EMS workers and veterans who lost their lives on Sept. 11.
“We want to remember those who lost their lives, but we also want to recognize the men and women in law enforcement, firefighters and EMS workers who volunteer today,” Dawson said.
Local law enforcement officers and volunteer fire companies from the surrounding area will be invited to participate in the event. Following the memorial service, Dawson says people will have an opportunity to view some of the fire units at the park.
The purpose of the event is two-fold, with the main focus being to honor men and women who serve the community and those who lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom, but Dawson also hopes to spark the interest of would-be volunteers in the area. “Unfortunately, many volunteer organizationsare nowfacing a decline in membership.If we were to take a tragedy such as the Sept. 11 attacks and turn this negativity into a positive by annually recognizing the “heroes” who serve every day, this could inspire others to volunteer,” he said. “This has the potential to increase membership in every Fire Department and EMS organization throughout the state. It can also inspire men and women to serve and/or see how they can help and support the law enforcement officers within their communities.”
Delegate Roger Romine is introducing a proclamation in Charleston declaring Sept, 11, 2011 as “Heroes Day” in Tyler County.
Dawson noted that state recognition of these services would further demonstrateto the public the value of the sacrifice these people make and how thepublic often takes these services for granted.”By illustrating how much the state appreciates theseheroes through this official proclamation, the public may then be more inclined to assist financially to these same organizations to show their appreciation,” Dawson said.
He added, “I would love to see ‘Heroes Day’ become an annual remembrance and recognition of those who serve throughout the State of West Virginia, and eventually all over the United States.”
For more information or to participate in the parade, please contact Rev. Dawson at 304-652-2794 or 304-771-5161.