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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Putnam County remembers

Monday, September 12, 2011

Marking the 10th anniversary of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, local residents listened to symbolic music and patriotic remarks during a 45-minute program Sunday at the bandshell in Greencastle's Robe-Ann Park. The Greencastle High School Classics entertained with "Blowin' in the Wind," while the handbell choirs of Gobin United Methodist and First Baptist churches also performed. Mayor Sue Murray concluded her remarks by asking for a moment of silence, while Greencastle Fire Chief Bill Newgent shared the perspective of first-responders.
For 45 minutes Sunday, an estimated 500 local residents quietly listened to symbolic music, soaked up dramatic readings and solemnly observed the 10th anniversary of the devastating Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America.

But when the program ended and representatives of the local emergency services marched from the Robe-Ann Park bandshell stage to the shelterhouse on the hill, the audience spontaneously burst into applause.

It was truly a heartfelt moment on the heart-tugging anniversary of a heart-wrenching day.

State Rep. Jim Baird, a Greencastle resident himself, provided the opening remarks, reflecting on how the aftermath of 9/11 underscores how we can all "take pride in the resolve we have as individuals and as a people ... God bless America."

That would become a common and popular theme on an afternoon that began under cloudy, gray skies but evolved into a canopy of sunshine for most of the observance.

Veteran Putnam County Playhouse performers Vickie Parker and Jack Randall Earles ramped up the drama by alternately reading the events of that terrible Tuesday as they unfolded.

They then joined voices to emphasize then-President George W. Bush's response to the "evil, despicable acts of terror."

Greencastle Fire Chief Bill Newgent next spoke on behalf of all first-responders, detailing how he learned of the 9/11 attacks and what he felt when he did.

The GFD chief said he was on the telephone, receiving news of a federal grant for his department, when the caller abruptly cut their conversation short

"He said, 'I've got to go' and then one of my firefighters said, 'You have to come see what's happening on the TV.'"

Of course, what he saw was the World Trade Center afire and America under attack.

"My first reaction," Newgent said, "as a first-responder was to want to respond."

And 10 years hasn't changed that.

"It's unbelievable that it has been 10 years already," he said. "In 10 years a lot of things have changed. They like to talk about WMDs, weapons of mass destruction. Ten years ago we didn't know what that was."

Response, training, preparation and utilization of personnel have all been impacted, Newgent said, by what transpired in the skies and on the ground in New York City that horrific day, as well in Washington, D.C., and the hills of Pennsylvania.

He said Putnam County should be proud of the 350 men and women who have been trained as first-responders and remain ready to react to local emergencies.

"We are blessed as a community to have such dedicated men and women in our own emergency services," Newgent praised.

Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray read from President Bush's recollections of Sept. 11, 2001 and quoted from the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen's post-9/11 song about a first-responder, "Into the Fire."

"Love and honor called you to duty in a higher place ... up the stairs and into the fire."

She then asked for the crowd to share a moment of silence for all those who lost their lives and/or loved ones on 9/11.

That done, the emergency services personnel and other dignitaries left the stage in silence but finished their walk between the lawn chairs and appreciative spectators to a crescendo of applause.

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I am a senior at DePauw and I wanted to thank the community and all those that helped put together the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony for yesterday. It was nice to come together with the Greencastle community to remember and reflect on what happened 10 years ago. It was very simple but nice and heart touching at the same time. A special thanks to all our local first-responders, city government officials and all that attended and took part. God Bless!

-- Posted by aen2012 on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 3:51 PM

What a wonderful performance- the singing and the bells were delightful. Just one more example of all the great things Greencastle has to offer.

-- Posted by localmom44 on Tue, Sep 13, 2011, at 11:03 AM

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