Town of Patriot will hold annual 9/11 Memorial service this Sunday


For the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on America, the town of Patriot will again hold it’s memorial service.

The service will be held this Sunday, September 11th, and will begin at the Patriot firehouse at about 8:15 p.m. From there those assembled will make a candlelight walk from the firehouse to Patriot’s Memorial Park, where the official memorial service will take place.

The community of Patriot has held a memorial service each year since the tragedy occurred.

“We will have various speakers and guests at the memorial service – and hopefully a good crowd,” George Miller of the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department said. “We will also be dedicating a piece of steel that was recovered from the Twin Towers as a part of our Memorial Park that evening.”

The Patriot Volunteer Fire Department applied for and received a portion of an I-beam that was recovered after the attacks on the World Trade Center buildings. That steel has now been attached to a special stand, and will be a permanent part of the Memorial Park.

George Miller said that he had heard that pieces of steel from the Twin Towers had been given to fire departments around the country; and he thought that there was no more suitable place for a piece of the steel that in the only incorporated town in the country named ‘Patriot’.

With its Patriotic Memorial Park, the community of Patriot seemed to be the perfect place for a piece of the remaining steel, so he wrote a letter requesting that the town of Patriot be given a section of the remaining steel.

In his letter, George Miller talked about the name of the town; and also that the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department and the Patriot community had been holding a 9/11 observance each year since 2001.

George Miller said that it was about three weeks after he submitted his letter, and he and his wife, Barb, were in North Carolina visiting son Christopher, who serves in the U.S. Marine Corps, when he received a phone call.

The man told George Miller that if the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department could hurry, the piece of steel could be loaded onto a truck yet that day and shipped to the community. The department was responsible for the shipping costs for the piece.

George Miller said that there is a board that decides who gets pieces of the steel; and throughout the process he worked with two individuals who were very close to the situation. Lee Lelpi, who was in an EMS-based rescue post on September 11th, 2001, lost his son, Jonathan, who was a firefighter on 9/11; and Carl Sheetz was also a firefighter that day in New York City. Both of the men were very helpful in making sure that Patriot’s application was approved.

The steel itself is the top plate of a beam that is approximately two feet long and three inches thick, and weighs approximately 300 pounds. It is certified to have come from the World Trade Centers, but there is no way of knowing which building the beam was a part of because of all of the devastation that day.

After arriving in Patriot, the section of beam had a featured spot in Patriot’s Fourth of July Parade last month; and many county residents and others have stopped by the Patriot firehouse to see and touch the iconic symbol.

It will now be a part of the memorial in Patriot, which honors those throughout history who gave their time and their lives in defense of freedom.

George Miller said that the decision has been made to let the piece rust naturally and not take steps to cover it in anyway, so it will remain in the natural state just like the community got it.

At Sunday’s service, everyone is invited to come and pay their respects on the occasion. George Miller said that the fire department will provide candles for the walk; and those who don’t want to participate in the walk can go directly to the Memorial Park, where the service should begin between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m.

Several dignitaries are expected to be on hand for the service, including officials from the Indiana Volunteer Firemans Association and elected officials.

“All firemen, EMS, and law enforcement officers are also invited,” George Miller said. “We will have a nice program, it’s a little bit extended from what we normally do.”