Lents honors Emergency Responders on 9/11

Although it was not the largest observance in Portland, read how Emergency First Responders were honored in the Lents neighborhood …

At this picturesque location in outer East Portland, in this memorial park, people gather to remember the 15th anniversary of the East Coast events of September 11 2001.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In the cool, fall-like breeze, organizers were preparing for a program entitled “Remembrance and Reflection, a Salute to First Responders” on the morning of September 11.

Participants made their way up Mt. Scott Boulevard to the Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery “Overlook Garden”, just before the 10:00 a.m. service got underway.

Members of the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation arrive at the ceremony.

The host for the event was Lincoln Memorial Park, and Cemetery General Manager Angela McKenzie-Tucker speaks to the gathering.

“We’re gathering the community together so we can remember the events of 15 years ago, and also, pay honor and tribute to our first responders,” said the memorial park’s General Manager Angela McKenzie-Tucker,

“For me it’s personal, I remember [my feelings] when September 11 happened,” McKenzie-Tucker said. “This morning when I woke up, that sadness was still very heavy in my heart.

“It’s very important to give back; it’s important to say thank you to our police officers, firefighters, and Emergency Medical technicians,” McKenzie-Tucker added.

Providing opening music for the ceremony, played on the bagpipes: Portland Police Bureau Honor Guard piper John Courtney.

After the Honor Guard Presentation by the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation members, Gaedwyn Swails sang The Star-Spangled Banner.

The main speaker was Portland Fire & Rescue Fire Marshall Nate Takara, who manages the Bureau’s Fire Prevention division.

Portland Fire & Rescue Fire Marshall Nate Takara gives the keynote presentation.

“I’m pleased to be asked to be here today,” Takara told East Portland News. “We are here honoring the people in New York City who made the ultimate sacrifice – firefighters, police officers, medical and rescue personnel, who – 15 years ago – lost their lives.

“In the fire service, we consider ourselves a family,” Takara said. “We consider all firefighters, here and abroad, to be out brothers and sisters. There’s definitely a connection among us.”

In his remarks Takara said it was good to pause, reflect, and remember the first responders, “who, without hesitation or second thought, ran into those buildings, while others were running out – trying to save lives.”

He asked those present to also remember the 73 firefighters who, “in the history of Portland Fire & Rescue, have lost their lives serving the community. They, too, gave their all in service.”

Those present took a moment to look out over the city from that vantage point, and reflect, as they looked at the red, white and blue floral wreaths, representing Portland Fire & Rescue, Emergency Medical Services, and the Portland Police Bureau, respectively.

Sharing her thoughts is Angela McKenzie-Tucker.

McKenzie-Tucker, gave her personal reflection before the ceremony dismissal.

“When people go away from this event, we hope they feel the hope and courage that came out of 9/11,” McKenzie-Tucker said as attendees made their way to a reception at the mortuary.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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