As train horns blared in the background of a cool late morning, nearly 100 spectators and participants gathered in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse to remember the lives lost during the terroristic bombing attacks launched on America’s cities and citizens Sept. 11, 2001.
The remembrance ceremony started promptly at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9, with opening remarks performed by Constable Charles Wiggins, and an opening prayer offered by the Rev. Mark Adams of Beaumont’s First Baptist Church.
After the “Presentation of Colors” by the United States Marine Corps Color Guard, Pct. 6 Constable Joe Stevenson moved the audience with an Acapella version of the National Anthem before brief messages were offered by featured guests.
A message from Governor Rick Perry preceded tearful sentiments delivered by Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick.
“I came here this morning for a purpose,” he said, “and that’s to remember the almost 3,000 people that perished – regular everyday citizens.”
Branick’s voice faltered at times while he recounted his memories of the Sept. 11 terror strikes and his appreciation for the selfless acts of first responders who were “rushing into the fire as others were rushing out.”
The Southeast Texas Veterans Service Group punctuated the ceremony’s ending with a 21-gun salute that shook the foundation where guests were gathered immediately followed Taps and VISD Police Department Officer Jeffrey T. Courts’ bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace.