By Naomi Hatch
The 9/11 Remembrance ceremony honoring those who gave their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was first held in 2002, with Ruth and her son Fred Carnahan hosting it in their Snowflake front yard. It has grown so that each year its location alternates between the Taylor and Snowflake fire departments. This year it was held in Taylor.
The ceremony began with a procession of American flags carried by members of Snowflake-Taylor American Legion Post 126, followed by members of Boy Scout Troop 746, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard, officers from the Snowflake-Taylor Police Department, members of the Taylor and Snowflake fire departments, Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT) Fire Science students and Taylor-Snowflake Emergency Services personnel.
Flags were raised and then lowered to half-staff by Boy Scouts and members of the American Legion.
Scout Trace Hancock led the Pledge of Allegiance, Darcy Gardner sang the Star Spangled Banner and the American Legion fired a 21-gun salute, with Bill Solomon playing Taps.
Pastor Randy Myers of the Living Faith Christian Center gave the opening prayer, then David Peterson played Amazing Grace as members of the police department and each fire department placed flowers in the empty boot and holster.
Fred Carnahan noted that when the 9/11 attacks occurred, the country came together and the same thing happened on June 30 of this year when Arizona lost 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots.
“We choose to respect them today as well as those who gave their lives back in 2001,” Carnahan said.
Members of the American Legion, Boy Scouts and NAVIT students placed a flag for each Granite Mountain Hot Shot, making a memorial at Freeman Park, then they held the Siren Salute for one minute, 15 seconds for each plane that crashed in 2001.
Taylor Mayor Fay Hatch said that not too long after the tragedies happened 12 years ago, a banner was raised noting, “We’ll never forget.”
“Thank you, Fred, for the opportunity to be together to honor those heroes and those involved on that fateful day,” said the mayor, recalling that many who gave their lives were volunteers.
“There has been no shortage of heroes since the beginning of this republic,” the mayor continued. He paid tribute to Patrick Henry, who stepped forward when they were debating sending troops to fight the Revolutionary War to speak, declaring, “As for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Mayor Hatch quoted Ronald Reagan, noting that it is up to us if we are to remain free.
“Our freedom and liberty are under attack every day,” he said. “It is up to us to strive every day to fight against those things…
“May the Lord bless us in that struggle as we strive to remain free,” the mayor concluded, referring to those on the front lines and all of us as we carry that torch forward.
Navajo County Sheriff K.C. Clark thanked Carnahan for honoring those lost in 9/11 every year. He shared memories his son recently shared with him about that tragic day and stated, “It’s important every year we remember…the folks that keep us safe.”
Johnny Kay sang The Lord’s Prayer and Lee Greenwood’s I’m Proud to be an American.
It was, once again, a very inspirational, patriotic program.
By Naomi Hatch