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Mayor: 9/11 tribute to fallen heroes creates ‘sense of community’

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

September 9, 2006

Hood River Mayor Linda Streich is urging parents to bring their school-age children on Monday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

“This is a golden opportunity for parents to teach their children a sense of community and national patriotism,” said Streich.

The 9/11 Tribute to Fallen Heroes begins at 6:30 p.m. with a parade of emergency service vehicles.

A processional of fire trucks, police cars and ambulances takes off from the Wal-Mart parking lot and travels through downtown Hood River. Two members of the Highland Guard Pipers will perform as the public safety vehicles pass under a gateway formed by two ladder trucks along the Second Street Extension just south of the Expo Center.

Officer Erin Anderson from the Portland Police East Precinct and Criminalist John Courtney will play patriotic selections as the parade passes by. They will also perform “Amazing Grace” during the program that begins at 7 p.m. inside the Expo Center.

The traditional police pipe band formed in 1998 after two Portland officers died in the line of duty. The group provides a musical tribute to officers, firefighters and military personnel who have sacrificed their lives on behalf of those under their watch.

The service includes a video of catastrophic events compiled by Steve Golding, a Brooklyn resident who witnessed the destruction of the Twin Towers while on his way to work in Midtown Manhattan.

Footage is provided of the tragedy at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Also portrayed is the courage of the civilians on Flight 93 who took action to prevent their plane from crashing into another high-profile target.

More than 3,000 people died on Sept. 11, 2001, during the single largest attack against American civilians in history.

Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler believes it is important for the nation to remember the citizens and hundreds of emergency responders who died that day.

“Being from a law enforcement office it’s pretty easy for me to visualize the immensity and complexity of these disasters because of the number of different agencies and people that were involved,” he said.

Wampler said it is also important to acknowledge the vital role played by dispatchers during the chaotic moments. He has invited the 14 dispatchers from his office and the six from Inter-tribal Fisheries Enforcement to march with the ranks during the Sept. 11 local service. He said these men and women are essential in any rescue operation because they get everyone in the field on the same page about what needs to be done.

“They are at the heart of all our responses. When you call for help, they are the ones who get it for you,” he said.

Rep. Patti Smith acts as mistress of ceremonies for the memorial service that, in addition to the sheriff’s office, features these agencies: Hood River Fire Department, Hood River City Police Department, Odell Fire District, West Side Fire District, Intertribal Fisheries Enforcement, Oregon State Police, Cascade Locks Fire Department, Parkdale Fire District, Dee Fire District and Pine Grove Fire District.

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