Several hundred gather at Jefferson Barracks to reflect on Sept. 11
St. Louis veterans joined with area residents Saturday morning to honor and remember the victims and heroes of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks during a reflective walk and patriotic ceremony at Jefferson Barracks Park.
Several hundred walkers participated in the second annual "Freedom River Walk" sponsored by the Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center and the South County Chamber of Commerce. The walks, which are held throughout the nation, ask Americans to reflect on the lives lost and to honor the sacrifice of the nation's police officers, firefighters and veterans.
Capt. Steve Mossotti of the Mehlville Fire Protection District, who spent 10 days at Ground Zero digging through the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York, said he hopes Americans never forget the sacrifice of the police and firefighters who died trying to save others that day. Mossotti, a member of Missouri Task Force One -- the federal search and rescue team -- said he is bothered by the political controversies that have surrounded this year's anniversary.
"It does sadden me to see the hatred that Americans are starting to show toward people wanting to build mosques. Or, burning Qurans,'' he said. "It's not what we do. It's not what America is about.''
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley read a proclamation naming Sept. 11 as Patriot Day in the county. He told the gathering that the terrorist attacks nine years ago should not be remembered solely as a day of loss and tragedy but also as a day of triumph and patriotism.
U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, told the gathering that it is time for all Americans to stand and fight for the nation's veterans.
"The second way we can honor this day is we must never, ever let the evil and cowardice of terrorism shake our commitment to the most sacred American principles: freedom, equality and tolerance. These are not just ideals, they are --and must remain -- our bedrock and our foundation," Carnahan said.
This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.