Casper Residents Remember 9-11 on Patriot Day
Sept. 11, "Patriot Day," has been set aside to remember the terrorist attacks in 2001 that changed the nation and the world.
Wednesday, two young Casper residents were among the few who actually came out for the day of remembrance at the Oregon Trail Veterans Cemetery in Evansville.
The ceremony featured Casper Fire-EMS Chief Tom Solberg and Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters who read the names of the firefighters and officers who died in the line of duty during the past year -- a tradition borne from the hundreds of firefighters and law enforcement officers who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
A fourth plane that was traveling to Washington, D.C., crashed in western Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the al-Qaida hijackers.
The attacks, the largest terrorist event in history, killed nearly 3,000 from numerous countries, and more have died from injuries and attack-related illnesses since then.
A resolution passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in October 2001 established Patriot Day as an unofficial national holiday.
In 2002 and years thereafter, Patriot Day was widely observed.
But over the years, observances and attendance even among public figures have dwindled.
For examples, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney was the only member of Wyoming's congressional delegation to send a letter to mark the occasion. Only one Casper City Council member attended. No Natrona County commissioners nor any state representatives or senators were present.
But Jammie Buck and Breea Holmes have not forgotten, and showed how the tragedy compounds over generations.
After Solberg and McPheeters read the names of the fallen firefighters, he and she walked to the podium to make a presentation.
Buck's voice quavered compared to the uniformed confidence of McPheeters and Solberg.
He held a small flag he had at home and and had folded it into a triangle.
Buck told the audience in the chapel of maybe 60 -- most who were military or law enforcement -- how a buddy's father died in the World Trade Center South Tower.
"He lost his dad that day in those attacks," Buck said.
"This flag isn't necessarily for his dad, it's for all of those who lost their lives that day, and I want to present it to these guys here to keep and possibly put up somewhere so everyone can see it," he said.
Buck gave it to one of the officials, and he and Holmes walked back to where they had been sitting in the front pew.
After the benediction, three-gun salute and taps, Buck said he met his buddy at a treatment facility in Utah a couple years ago.
His buddy was two years old when his dad perished, he said.
"Last year, I got a call from his brother," Buck said.
"He'd committed suicide, and in his note he said he wanted to go be with his dad," he said. "So I remember having that flag at home, and I figured I would bring it here today for everyone who'd ost their lives that horrible day."