Firefighters take a moment to reflect on anniversary of attacks

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Sept 11, 2007 - Hopkins County firemen and other county employees Tuesday held a moment of silence today to reflect on and remember of the many men and women who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The firemen donned their dress uniforms and stood in silence in front of their fire station before the flags were lowered to half-mast. It was a solemn reflection on the 343 firefighters, 72 police officers and more than 2,590 others who perished six years ago in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, as well as  the 125 killed at the Pentagon and 267 who died in the hijacked airplanes.

The moment was observed at 8:59 a.m. Texas time, marking the moment in New York when the Twin Tower fell in 2001.

Hopkins County sheriff’s officers and emergency dispatchers offered a moment of radio silence, and county officials also observed the moment to “honor all the men and women in emergency and Armed Services who lost their lives on Sept. 11 and since,” Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap said early this morning.

County officials, following the example established by state officials, ordered that flags on all county property be flown at half-mast in honor of those who died in the terrorist attacks and those who have lost their lives and continue to put their lives on the line fighting terrorism, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As a result of theattacks, the Department of Homeland Security has come to the forefront leading the nation’s effort to make the country safer. 

Those efforts include evaluations of safety functions in communities, ordering security audits and making money available to improve safety.

Through homeland security funding, Hopkins County received a hazardous materials truck and 22-foot cargo trailer to carry equipment for the county’s haz-mat team; hazardous materials equipment such as detectors for weapons of mass destruction and toxic materials, leak and spill containment, decontamination showers, breathing equipment and personal protective gear; training for Hopkins County firefighters to receive hazardous materials technician certification; and a new “inter-operable” radio system by which all county, city and government officials and state officials can communicate in the event of a disaster or emergency situation. That equipment eliminates one of the difficulties emergency personnel experienced when  responding during the terrorist attacks of 9/11, according to Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix.

The county has also received funding for back-up generators for rural water systems, according to Millsap.

Also, Millsap signed a proclamation this morning designating Sept. 11, 2007, as “A Day of Remembrance” in Hopkins County “to recognize the men and women who lost their lives and acknowledge the firefighters and police officers” on Sept. 11, 2001.

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