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Mesquite, TX – September 14, 2021 – The City of Mesquite held a sunrise memorial on Saturday, Sept. 11 to commemorate “Patriot Day” which is the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. This year’s program recognized the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The event included a musical performance, special presentations, the reading of both the Police and Firefighter Prayer and the Mesquite Police and Fire Department joint color guard as well as the Mesquite Fire Department Pipe and Drum Corps.
Here is the speech that was given by Mayor Bruce Archer:
September 11, 2021
9/11 Ceremony at Mesquite Freedom Park
I want to welcome everyone to Mesquite Freedom Park. This is a solemn and quiet place to come and reflect on the cost of freedom in America. And a place to remember what happened on this fateful date 20 years ago today.
I want to recognize our elected officials here today:
To begin our program, I will ask Mesquite Fire Department Chaplain Austin Holt to open us up with a word of prayer, as we want to invite Almighty God to be with us on this special occasion. This followed by the singing of “America The Beautiful” by Mr. Gary Pyland.
Thank-you gentleman for inspirational contributions to today’s program. Next, I would like to ask for:
If you are able, please stand.
Twenty years ago, today, around this time, one of the foulest deeds of our time took place and indeed, freedom was attacked most viciously!
None of the men and women who had just gotten to work at the World Trade Center, or the members of our Armed Forces working at the Pentagon or those individuals who boarded United Airlines Flight 93 could know what was about to transpire and the tragedy that was about to ensue around them.
Today, 20 years later, we come together as neighbors and friends to remember the thousands of our citizens who perished during this national tragedy.
Indeed, we must never forget. We will never forget that eerie sound of the fiery crash of the second plane hitting the south tower. We will never forget the horror both in the faces of thousands of citizens looking up from the streets surrounding the Twin Towers as well as the millions of Americans watching from their TV sets. We will never forget the awful scene of seeing our fellow citizens having to jump out of the windows of the towers because of the intense heat and watch them fall to their deaths. And we will never forget the hundreds of firefighters and police officers who were running. And, not running from the flame-engulfed twin towers - but running towards and into those buildings in the hopes of saving lives. Again, many of them not knowing that they’d never go home to see their own families again.
Equally, we will never forget heroism displayed as office employees and first responders joined together to come to the aid of those in The Pentagon. And we will never forget the selfless actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard one of the planes, Flight 93, who courageously gave their lives thereby thwarting another planned attack on our nation’s capital.
However, as tragic as that morning was, we must also remember that history should teach us that we serve a God who can take any difficult situation and ultimately turn it into a blessing. Thus, we should also remember how in the coming hours, days and weeks - America came together and experienced unity in such a way that we have not experienced since WWII.
As a citizen overwhelmed with my own grief and heartache that day, I was encouraged and touched when hours later we saw Democratic and Republican members of Congress who just a day before had been duking it out and had been in political combat if you will on the House and Senate floors - were now suddenly locked arm in arm on the Capital steps singing “God Bless America.”
Then just a few days later, we saw President George W. Bush as he made his way down the aisle to address a joint session of Congress to report to the American People – and those who had been opposing the President politically, respectively embraced the President in a loving hug - just as if they were brothers.
During those dark days, we saw more and more of the light of goodness shine brightly - and people were kinder and sweeter to one another, more neighbors were looking out for one another, people were setting their differences aside to give more of their humanity to one another.
From the ashes of the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and Shanks Field - came a new sense of hope and that by banding together as a nation and with our reliance on Almighty God - we could overcome any difficulty.
Twenty years later, we stand at this special place -Mesquite Freedom Park- as Americans across the nation stand in similar fashion this morning - we must take the lessons we learned from that time and use them today.
With the many tragedies of last year and this year during the Pandemic along with other national challenges, there is no greater time than for us to come together just as we did in the days after the attacks on our nation.
We are always stronger when we are together. I believe President Bush spoke into life, these sentiments that evening, 20 years ago, when he addressed the nation:
“These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people have been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.”
To all the people of Mesquite - that is the legacy we must build on today.
I want to express that 5 years ago today, I was privileged to lead the dedication ceremonies here at Mesquite Freedom Park. And I would be remiss, if I did not once again - offer a special thank the community donors and corporate sponsors who helped make this special place a reality.
At this time, I would like to ask everyone to please join together in observing a moment of silence for all those whose lives were ended or affected from the 911 attacks - including hundreds of dedicated first responders - as well as the many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who would also make the ultimate sacrifice over the last 20 years in the War on Terror - May God rest their souls and may He always bless the United States.
The Moment of Silence will be followed by the reciting of the Police Officer’s Prayer, Firefighter’s Prayer, and the performance of Good Bless America and Amazing Grace.
This concludes our program.
I want to encourage everyone to please take this opportunity to enter the Mesquite Freedom Park area to reflect and remember… and to never forget 9/11.