Northwest Montana Remembers Sept. 11

By Beacon Staff

Two thousand, five hundred and fifty six miles is the distance from Ground Zero in New York City to the tiny town of Troy, on the Montana-Idaho border. But even at that distance, Troy Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Chapel said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are worthy of a memorial.

Chapel will join others across Montana and the United States on Tuesday to mark the 11th anniversary of the deadly attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pa.

“We do it simply because it could happen any place,” Chapel said. “A fallen firefighter or first responder can happen anywhere and these people are very important to our towns and cities.”

Since 2002, the Troy fire department has held a small memorial ceremony on the anniversary of the attacks. There is a small memorial set up outside the fire hall honoring the victims of Sept. 11 and it includes an old brass Great Northern Railway bell. Chapel says the ceremony will likely take place sometime in the afternoon and will include other area fire departments.

In Bigfork, firefighters will stand at attention in full uniform at the firehouse on Grand Avenue from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Every hour a new firefighter will come out and take up the flag for what has been described as an emotional display of patriotism.

At 2 p.m., the veterans of the Demersville Cemetery will be honored with prayer, music and a reading of names. Officials from Flathead County will also be on hand. The idea for the ceremony came from the County Clerk and Recorders Office.

“We want to pay homage to the veterans who have been buried there,” said Paula Robinson, the county clerk and recorder and election administrator. “We’re trying to get the community out and it gives them a chance say thank you in another way to the people who served this country.”

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