By Thomas Garcia, PNT Staff Writer
A crowd of 30 residents and members of the Portales police and fire departments gathered Thursday morning in the Portales National Bank parking lot to remember the fallen heroes of Sept. 11.
Portales Fire Chief John Bridges stressed to the crowd the importance of remembering those who died seven years ago and honoring those men and women who serve their country and community today.
More than a dozen Eastern New Mexico University students attended the ceremony, which ended with the musical group Master Works singing “God Bless America” as the members of the crowd exchanged hugs.
Portales Battalion Chief Gary Nuckols said he was encouraged by the turnout of young people.
“We are looking at the leaders of tomorrow, who are getting involved with their community and country,” Nuckols said.
PFD Lt. Mike Golden said after the ceremony there isn’t a firefighter who does not remember what they were doing and where they were on that day.
“This solemn day will forever be etched in our memories,” Golden said.
Sept. 11 has had a huge impact on all of the nation, especially the youth, Nuckols said.
“My children, who were 5 and 6 years old at the time, still remember everything about that day,” Nuckols said. “In fact, I remember on that day, I was on duty at the department.”
Lt. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department said events such as Thursday’s ceremony are important to the legacy of this nation because it helps keep America vigilant.
“When I was younger, I would remember Pearl Harbor, The ‘Day of Infamy,’” Berry said. “Much like then, the youth of today are honoring the brave people who lost their lives.”
Portales National Bank President David Stone has organized this remembrance ceremony since 2002.