City celebrates emergency personnel on Patriot Day

Brigadier General Patrick Hamilton thanks troops in 2016 - National Guard Photo

As Sept. 11 rolls around each year since 2001, Americans across the nation pause to remember the nearly 3,000 people killed on that date in terrorist attacks, the more than 6,000 injured, the families left behind and the first responders who risked life and limb to save as many people as possible, even as some among their ranks fell in the line of duty.

The citizens of Beaumont and its leaders will “never forget” the sacrifices made by first responders then and still to this day. In memory of the lives lost on 9/11 and in honor of the first responders who daily work diligently to keep our community safe, Mayor Becky Ames, the City of Beaumont, the police, fire and EMS departments, and the U.S. Army 842nd Transportation Battalion are hosting a Patriot Day Commemoration Ceremony at the Downtown Event Centre at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The event is free and open to the public.

Enhancing the excitement surrounding the event, Brigadier General Patrick Hamilton of the 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, who led the National Guard’s local efforts in Hurricane Harvey aftermath last year, is the guest speaker at the ceremony.

“I am honored to speak to the Beaumont community and participate in the ceremony,” said Hamilton. “Since my last visit to the area as the Dual Status Commander of the National Guard for Hurricane Harvey relief, it will be great to see Beaumont thriving and under better circumstances. I am looking forward to the event and excited to be in the city of Beaumont.”

Hamilton currently serves as the Assistant Division Commander – Operations for the 36th Infantry Division, which is one of the 18 Combat Divisions in the United States Army. It is comprised of three Infantry Brigade Combat Teams, a Combat Aviation Brigade, an Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, an Engineering Brigade, and a Sustainment Brigade, all totaling over 16,000 troops.

Hamilton graduated from Texas A&M University in 1986 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education as well as a Master of Strategy and Security from the U.S. Army War College. He is also a graduate of the Army Strategic Education Program – Advanced Course. He is a career Armored Cavalry officer and has commanded units at the platoon, company, regiment and joint task force levels.

Hamilton has held many leadership positions during his military career, serving as the Red Team Leader for the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Chief of Operations for the U.S. Sector during Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia and numerous others. His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the NATO medal for service in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, among others.

Hamilton lives in Round Rock, Texas, with his wife of 30 years, Beverly. They have three children.

The ceremony for which Hamilton is headlining is the first “Patriot Day” in Beaumont, but the cityhas held 9/11 commemoration events for many years running prior to 2017, when the city was unable to have the event as it was still recovering from Harvey. In years past, the ceremony was held at Fire Station No. 1, but this year it will be held at the Event Centre to open it up to the public and encourage attendance at the much larger venue.

The ceremony will include patriotic music, a presentation of colors by the Fire and EMS Honor Guard, playing of taps, a flyover and 21-gun salute. The 842nd Transportation Battalion will conduct the laying of the wreaths in honor of first responders and civilians involved in the 9/11 attack.

“This event is so important to our community,” said Mayor Becky Ames. “Patriot Day is a day to reflect on the lives that were lost and to take time to remember the sacrifices that were made to keep us safe. The ability to gather as a community to honor those who risked their lives for others is the least we could do. We want to encourage the public to come out and be a part of this ceremony, to not only pay tribute to those who we lost, but support our first responders in the community, as well.”

The event begins at 11 a.m. Beaumont Fire Chief Earl White will deliver the welcome address at the event. Mayor Becky Ames will introduce BG Hamilton and offer closing comments. Bishop Curtis J. Guillory of St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica will give the invocation and benediction. EMS Manager Max Nguyen will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Officer Jeff Courts will perform “Amazing Grace,” and the Courts Ensemble will perform “Hallelujah.” The West Brook School Choir will sing the National Anthem, and United High School Choir will be performing “God Bless America” at the end of the program.