(Above) Historian Bennett Smith challenged those attending the Sept. 11 service at the Clear Lake Fire Station to remain vigilant to the threats that exist in the world.-Reporter photo by Marianne Gasaway.
by Marianne Gasaway
Virtue. Valor. Vigilance.
Speaker Bennett Smith, a historian and Clear Lake City Council representative, called upon all those attending a service at the Clear Lake Fire Station to remain steadfast as Americans in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“We come here to commemorate those we lost in the attacks on Sept. 11, as we should, but we also must answer the call to virtue and valor. We may not have to pay the ultimate price as they did, but we can reach higher and contribute in many other ways to our great nation,” said Smith. “We must all remain vigilant as Americans to the threats that exist in the world.”
Smith told the large crowd gathered outside the fire station, with a piece of steel salvaged from the Twin Towers brought to Clear Lake from New York by local firefighters and fashioned into a 9/11 monument at its corner, terrorists were not simply attacking individual Americans or buildings on Sept. 11, they were attacking American ideals and instructions of government and society. He called American ideals of freedom and self-government a beacon of liberty for the world.
“The attacks of 9/11 were intended to strike at some of the most important symbols of American civilization. They failed in their mission, for as tragic as the attacks on Sept. 11 were, they also revealed the depths of the American character through the leadership of ordinary people in their willingness to sacrifice their lives for their fellow Americans,” said Smith.
He went on to share stories of officer Moira Smith, of the 13th precinct of the NYPD. She was the first to call in the attack on the North Tower. She then proceeded to assist in the rescue and evacuation of people in the South Tower in an orderly fashion and helping the injured. She and many others worked together to save the lives of thousands before the Towers collapsed because they considered others more important than themselves.
Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca and Chief Orio Palmer, of Battalion 7, managed to get as high as the 78th floor to help. The men got as high as any rescue workers that day before the tower collapsed on them.
“They were men of virtue and valor,” said Smith. “It isTo read more of this article, please login or sign up for our E-Edition