See how members of the Gateway Area Business Association honored public safety workers and citizens killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks …
Standing before Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 30 are Third Battalion Chief Mark Gift; Station 30 firefighters Erin Spens, David Glenn, Matt Phillips and Lt. Steve Bregman on their way to the 9/11 memorial service held at 111th Square.
Story by Watford Reed with David F. Ashton; David F. Ashton photos
Beneath a gigantic American flag, members of the Gateway Area Business Association memorialized the 3,000 men and women killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
With them were representatives from Portland Fire & Rescue, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police Bureau; invited to remember the sacrifice of their fellow workers in rescue attempts at the World Trade Center buildings and at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
A color guard made up of Gateway Keystone Kops and members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4248 hoist Old Glory into the summer sky.
Patricia Labat sings “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” as the flag at 111th Square is raised.
Bugler George Hager a member of VFW Post 2807 and at an associate member of the Submarine Veterans of World War II, plays taps as the flag is lowered to half staff in memory of the 9/11 dead.
The opening ceremony is punctuated by a gun salute by the Honor Guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Oregon Speaker of the House Jeff Merkley takes time from his political campaign to come by and honor the men and women who serve the community in their public safety positions.
Dining, interestingly enough, on Mexican-style of food of beans, rice and enchiladas, members of GABA introduced fire fighters, sheriff’s deputies and police officers, and praised their work for helping others.
With no other formal program, members lunched while GABA’s secretary, Fred Sanchez, the owner of 111th Square, interviewed members with a roving microphone.
Seated with Portland City Council candidate Amanda Fritz, Portland Police Bureau Officer Scott Robertson and Officer Rob Slyter are introduced by Joe Rossi.
Public safety representatives speak out
“It’s wonderful to be appreciated,” said Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs.
“It’s a good feeling to be appreciated by the community we serve,” added deputy Heidi Nelson of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office.
Belatedly receiving their award from the May GABA Fun-O-Rama parade, representing the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office are Deputies Israel Chinn, Rachael Wheeler, Heidi Nelson and Steven Gilliam.
Brady Van Dyne, veteran of the Korean War and a member of the VFW honor group, said he felt honored to memorialized the lost of September 11 and implied that it is ahead of honoring one of his veteran comrades.
“It’s good to take time to remember those we’ve lost and appreciate the freedoms we have,” said Battalion Chief Mark Gift.
Event has special meaning for a firefighter
“This date, today, has tremendous significance for firefighters,” Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Steve Bregman of Station 30 told us.
“We lost 343 fellow firefighters at the trade centers in New York City. And today, we think of all of those working in public safety – all willing to risk their lives. On this day, we also remember the civilians that died at the Trade Center Towers, in Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.”
Lowering his eyes, and his voice, Bregman continued, “On a personal note, I lost a cousin at the Towers. It hits home both professionally and personally to me. Thus, this event here today is well taken. We appreciate being able to partake with the community, be involved in this memorial and interacting with people the people we serve.”
© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News