Image by Stephanie Cole

RICHMOND, Ky. -- A standing room only crowd packed the Eastern Kentucky University College of Justice & Safety’s Posey Auditorium today to honor the first responders who lost their lives in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on America exactly 12 years ago. 

After reading a proclamation from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear declaring Sept. 11, 2013 as “9/11 First Responders’ Day,” keynote speaker J. Michael Brown, secretary of the Kentucky Justice & Public Safety Cabinet, reminded the audience to “never forget the first responders who rushed to the aid of their neighbors on that day” and called them the second of America’s two lines of defense.

“Our military provides the first line of our national defense,” he said.  “The second line of defense is our domestic line of defense – the first responders – the emergency medical technicians, firemen and police who are a force for good and life.” First responders are heroes whose “heroism begun that day at the start of their shift” and when they “made the conscious decision to don a uniform and insignia to represent a neighborhood and defend and protect their citizens.”

Attendees were addressed also by Mark Gordon, a CJ&S alumnus who spearheaded the effort to create a memorial to the first responders. Gordon, a resident of New Jersey, was looking for a way to pay his respects to the fallen first-responders. Not finding any such memorial on campus, he decided to undertake the creation of one and began his quest to obtain a piece of a steel beam from one of the towers to be the centerpiece – something he called “the most important project of my life.” 

After the dedication program, attendees toured the newly created memorial in the lobby of the Stratton Building. In addition to the steel beam, the memorial contains a wall with the names of the men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty; photos of the attack of the World Trade Center along with the impact sites of United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon; and a mural of the flag-raising at the WTC.

The program also included remarks from EKU President Michael Benson and CJ&S Dean Allen Ault, the presentation of flags by Richmond Police Department Honor Guard and bagpipe performances by Captain Maria Roberts of the Lexington Division of Fire and EMS.

* Memorial Image by Stephanie Cole

View the Memorial Wall Photo Gallery by Clicking here


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Published on September 11, 2013