Community 9/11 remembrance spotlights Portland’s firefighters

Discover why diverse community members came together at an outer East Portland location to commemorate the “Twin Towers” terrorist attack a decade ago …

Neighbors gather at Crossroads Christian Church to commemorate 2001’s “9/11” tragedy, and to affirm life.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
By the time September 11 came around this year, many folks, subject to a barrage of  commemorative television programs recalling the terrorist attack on New York City and Washington DC a decade ago, were ready to “move forward” with their lives.

But, some 100 people gathered at Crossroads Christian Church on NE 102nd Avenue for their “Septemberfest” – held in its parking lot that afternoon.

Boy Scouts of Troop 5 serve as Color Guard, and prepare to raise the American flag to half-staff.

The assembly pauses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, while the Scouts salute our flag.

“It’s a special day of celebration commemorating the powerful resolve of the American people to rise from tragedy to triumph,” exclaimed Mila Polevia, the church’s Minister of Music, and leader of the event. “We have live music, arts & crafts, international foods, community information, games for kids – and a special memoriam for those affected by the terrorist attacks of 9/11.”

After leading those attending in the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silent prayer, Polevia read a poem, “Our Sad September Snow” by Vincent Spada. (CLICK HERE to see the poem, on the author’s copyrighted site.)

Mila Polevia reads the moving words of the poem, “Our Sad September Snow”.

“As we continue with our community get-together,” Polevia mused, “We remember the victims of 9/11, and we will never forget them. It’s a time to gather together and show each other the resolute nature of the American people.”

Portland Fire & Rescue’s (PF&R) Station 30 engine was prominently parked near the center of activity. The crew made “honorary firefighters” of kids who came up to take a look, and talked with people attending the Septemberfest.

After the official remarks, Lt. Jeff Netter, attached to PF&R Station 30 shared his thoughts on 9/11 with us.

“Even though this event took place on the other side of the continent, it affects us as firefighters,” Netter began.

Joe and Ellen Jesse and Reverend Herman Hawkins share a light moment with PF&R Station 30’s Lt. Jeff Netter.

“There is a brotherhood among firefighters,” Netter said. “It doesn’t matter where in the world tragedy strikes; it affects us as a community – as a brotherhood.

“Granted, the community does view us as heroes; but we simply view it as our job,” Netter reflected. “We hope people won’t lose sight of the fact that there were a lot of civilians killed in this event. They were heroes in their own right – thousands of them. There were a lot of people from all walks of life and different career fields that have been personally affected by this. We’ve all been affected by this in different ways, as Americans.”

With the ceremony ended, the somber mood lightened, as the afternoon of Septemberfest continued.

Elliott Kacena places a commemorative ribbon on the fence, along with many others.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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