Ann Arbor residents, city officials and members of the city’s fire and police departments gathered yesterday morning in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Listen to part of AAPD Chief Barnett Jones’s speech at the memorial service.
The memorial service, which took place between Ann Arbor Fire Station One and the city of Ann Arbor Justice Center, began with a rendition of the National Anthem performed by a group of students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. The performance was followed by the raising of the United States flag by two members of the Ann Arbor fire and police departments.
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said to the crowd of about 25 people gathered at the event that Americans have stood strong amid turmoil.
“America has rebounded,” he said. “We fought back. We haven’t given up. Our lives have changed. We live life in a different way then we used to.”
Hieftje noted that in addition to the city’s memorial service, many other ceremonies are scheduled to take place throughout Ann Arbor to remember the 9/11 attacks and honor the victims of the tragedy — including a vigil that was held on the Diag last night.
Following his speech, Hieftje introduced AAFD Chief Chuck Hubbard, who said he was on duty at Fire Station One when the terrorist attacks occurred 10 years ago. After the second plane hit the World Trade Center that morning, Ann Arbor’s fire departments were placed on lockdown and the AAFD’s Technical Rescue Team was put on standby in case its assistance was needed in New York to sift through the rubble, Hubbard explained.
“I’m confident everyone who died that day will always be remembered as American heroes,” Hubbard said.
AAPD Chief Barnett Jones spoke next and noted that while there were hundreds of first responders who perished in the attacks, sone of the surviving responders still suffer from the toxic dust that permeated the air around ground zero.
“Today, police officers and fire personnel are dying because they ran into buildings, disregarding proper equipment to save lives,” Jones said.
Jones asked attendees of the ceremony to hold hands as he ended his speech in a strong, passionate tone.
“We stood together as Americans, so all across this nation, and all around this world, let them see that we’re still standing together,” Jones exclaimed. “Let them know that they can never take away our freedom. They can never take away our lifestyle, they can never take away what is America.”
In an interview after the event, Jones said he spoke exuberantly because he was proud of the American values he was raised on.
“I’m proud to be an American,” Jones said. “There’s no better country than this country.”