The River Parishes remember 9/11

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011



LAPLACE – Ten years removed from the largest terrorist attack ever to be inflicted upon American soil, the nation continues to stand united in remembrance of the lives lost and the bravery by many on that fateful day that stands alone in history.

As large-scale observances to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks were held Sunday in New York, where the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed, in Washington, D.C., where the Pentagon was attacked, and in Shanksville, Penn., where a brave group of airline passengers prevented another attack aimed at the Capitol, St. John the Baptist Parish organized its own little ceremony to show the will to remember extends to the River Parishes.

Parish officials gathered with firefighters, sheriff’s deputies, National Guardsmen and residents at Riverland Ford in LaPlace for a brief remembrance ceremony organized by the St. John the Baptist Parish Young Marines. Unit Commander Brian Bertrand said the young men and women in the program have been preparing the ceremony for months.

“They all understood the significance of what took place that day and what it means to our nation as a whole,” Bertrand said. “We wanted to do something special but simple to show the region and the nation that St. John Parish did not forget and would not ever forget.”

The ceremony included words from St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom and Sheriff Wayne Jones, who each spoke of the bravery of those who risked their lives to help others escape the chaos of that morning in 2001.

“The events of that day brought our country to its knees, but we did not stay down long,” Robottom said. “Now we stand tall as a people and as a country. I implore you to recall those feelings and the efforts to continue to build a better, stronger country and parish.”

The afternoon concluded with a moment of silence during which the members of the Young Marines fashioned themselves into a formation that, when seen from above, resembled the Pentagon and the World Trade Center twin towers.

“This was not something any of them took lightly,” said instructor Cindy Fleet. “Afternoons like this are a perfect example of what the Young Marines are all about. They showed pride in themselves and pride in their country.”

Following the ceremony, many residents were moved by the solemn focus of the program and the need to remember even though no one could really ever forget.

“I still struggle with words to describe what unfolded 10 years ago,” said LaPlace resident Gayle Whitney. “We all saw it happen, and no one could turn away from any of it. I don’t think it is possible for anyone to forget what was seen that day.”

Many in attendance shared stories about where they were when news broke of the attacks.

“I was ready to head out for work, and my son flipped on the television, and there was the image of the trade center on fire,” said Fred Lopez. “We were stopped cold. It was like we were frozen. We couldn’t believe the sight. I think it is incredibly important for all communities to have some sort of remembrance of that day. Those who sacrificed deserve that level of respect.”