MARYSVILLE — Firefighters, police officers, city officials and community members gathered at the Police and Firefighters' Memorial, outside the Marysville Library, to observe the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Greg Kanehen, pastor of the Marysville Free Methodist Church and chaplain for the Marysville Police Department and Fire District, offered an opening invocation, after members of the Marysville Fire District Honor Guard had lined up in front of the memorial at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 of this year.
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring delivered the ceremony's main speech, reflecting on how quickly time seems to have passed in the intervening 12 years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93, while also noting how that day dealt an even more personal loss to the Marysville community.
"In this fast-paced world, years can go by in the blink of an eye, which it why it's all the more important that we stop on this day, to remember the sacrifices that were made, and the lives that were lost, on that Sept. 11," said Nehring, who added that 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers gave their lives in the commission of their duties in New York City on that day. "We pay tribute to the many innocent men, women and children whose lives were taken so suddenly, and to those whom they left behind to grieve their loss."
Nehring went on to thank the Marysville Fire District, Police Department and surrounding community for coming together for Marysville's annual Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony, which has an especially painful significance to the Marysville community, since Sept. 11, 2001, is also the day that Marysville Fire Lt. Jeff Thornton lost his life to cancer.
"Jeff was a special person to everyone, from the kids whose classrooms he visited, to his peers in the fire department and throughout Snohomish County," Nehring said. "His family has joined us each year for this ceremony, for which we're grateful. We love you and stand with you, as you grieve what a great person he was, and what a great life he lived."
With the extended wars that have followed in the wake of that day, Nehring urged the Marysville community to recognize and support its local service members and veterans, as well as their families, in the midst of their ongoing struggles.
"After that Sept. 11, we sent our armed forces all over the world," Nehring said. "They've been separated from their loved ones, and many have come back injured and maimed."
Nehring cited history to recall how the Roman Empire prized the lives of its citizens so much that it would go after those who took those citizens' lives, and asserted that America has demonstrated that it values individual human lives just as strongly.
"You can see it in how we responded," Nehring said. "It's up to us to pass that value of life on to our own kids."
After Marysville Fire Capt. Matt Campbell rang the bell at the memorial at 8:48 a.m., in honor of Thornton and the first responders who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Marysville Fire Capt. Chip Kruse played "Taps" on his bugle.
"This annual ceremony helps us all remember and pay tribute to those who died, as we also remember the loss of one of our own on that very same day," said Marysville Fire Chief Greg Corn, who noted that this event has taken place every year since 2001. "As we look back on the events that took place 12 years ago, we have a responsibility to those who gave their lives, and to those who continue to fight and sacrifice for our freedom and security. Marysville is a community that will never forget."