Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie rings the fireman’s bell at the memorial ceremony on the 12th anniversary of 9/11.
TARPON SPRINGS – Against a backdrop of clear blue skies, the gold buttons on the uniform of Tarpon Springs Fire Chief Rick Butcher glistened in the sun, casting shadows onto the concrete in front of him.
Behind him, two dozen policemen and firefighters lined the entrance to the Public Safety Facility. And in front of him, 30 citizens crowded the sidewalk in memory of that fateful day 12 years ago.
Mayor David Archie gave the first address to the public after the benediction by Pastor Tim Stevens.
“We must remember this day when cowards so tragically attacked our nation,” Archie said. “One thing we have in common, that draws us together, is that we are all Americans.”
Butcher urged everyone to remember that the consequences of 9/11 still resonate today, in the lost lives of military, law enforcement and firefighters.
“That wasn’t the end,” the fire chief said. “It was just the beginning.”
Police Chief Robert Kochen read the Policeman’s Prayer and thanked his fellow policemen for their service to and support of Tarpon Springs.
“When it gets bad,” he said, “we put our lives on the line.”
Then, to close the ceremony, Butcher invited Archie to ring the fireman’s bell, signaling the status of an emergency.
One bell calling firefighters to respond.
Two bells to let them know the fire’s out.
And three bells, chiming out above bated breaths, telling them to move on; their service to their country is done this time.