Local group hosts Patriot Day Remembrance Ceremony at Central Park

The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks cost America much, not only in dollar figures but also in thousands of lives, and should not be forgotten, keynote speaker Mike Cox indicated at the 9/11 ceremony Sunday.

Cox, the co-chair of the Kosciusko County Patriot Day Remembrance Ceremony, spoke for about 15 minutes about what happened that day, the result of the attacks over the last 15 years and radical Islam. The ceremony was held at the 9/11 Memorial in Central Park at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with a parade following.

Cox said everyone heard that there were almost 3,000 people killed that day, but he wanted to “update” that loss with information he was able to find.

First, the dollar loss. “It is estimated that, including the demolition of the ruins at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, designing and building a new World Trade Center, repairing the Pentagon, health care for survivors and responders and for the costs of the ensuing wars in the Middle East, the U.S. has spent more than $3 trillion. In contrast, al-Qaeda spent about a half million dollars to carry out those attacks,” he said.

But the dearest losses have been in human lives and health, he said. “In addition to the 2,996 people murdered on September 11, 2001, another 2,500 first responders to these disasters have died. About 1,500 of those are directly attributed to their having been involved in the rescue and recovery efforts. Over 1,100 responders are now being treated for a variety of cancers,” Cox said.

He said he recently spoke to a New York firefighter who was there and traveling with a mobile tour. He told Cox 140 of his friends were being treated for a variety of cancers directly attributed to what they had to breathe to try and find the survivors at Ground Zero.

More than 6,640 American service men and women died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with more than 1,600 surviving their wounds but losing limbs.

“The hidden losses have come in the form of suicides, PTSD, traumatic brain injuries. There’s been over 300,000 service men and women affected in these ways, and that doesn’t include the first responders who answered the call,” he said.

Over the last 15 years since that day, Cox said everyone’s lives have changed in many ways.

“We are still a free nation, but we’re not as free as were. We are not as safe and secure as we were in 2001. There have been hundreds of attempts at terrorist attacks, thwarted by diligent police work and intelligence actions. But we must now be ever vigilant,” he said.
Cox mentioned the 49 people killed in an attack at a Miami nightclub and 14 people killed in an attack on a business party in California.

He then pointed out that some groups have seized on this time to try and further other causes that endanger the nation. The past two years especially have seen a rise in violence against law enforcement and other emergency services. Five police officers were ambushed in Dallas, and 39 officers were shot to death in 2016 so far, he said. Many firefighters even now wear ballistic vests, and they didn’t have to do that before.

The theme for this year’s 9/11 ceremony was “The Day America Cried.” The theme for the parade, which is only done about every five years after the ceremony, was “Celebrating Freedom.”

The rest of the ceremony included Joe Wilkey giving the invocation, presentation and posting of colors by Indiana Guard Reserve, Bryce Lippe singing the national anthem and Boy Scout Troop 715 and Cub Scout Pack 3736 leading the pledge of allegiance.

Warsaw Police Department officer Brad Kellar sang two songs, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” and “God Bless the USA.” Kevin Kyle played a patriotic medley on his electric guitar, while Ken Locke gave the closing prayer after a moment of silence.

The Patriot Guard provided the American flag display and rode in the parade.

Co-chair of the ceremony is Cathy Reed.