ROCKFORD (WREX) — Millions across the nation and people in the Stateline mark the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
The American Legion Post #332 in Rockton hosted a ceremony to honor the more than 3,000 victims of 9/11 and the first responders who put their lives on the line each day.
Notable speakers included: Senator Dave Syverson, Representative John Cabello, Retired Colonel Dave Draeger, Lt. Joel Givens of Rockford Police Dept., South Beloit Mayor Ted Rehl, Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson, Reverend William Wentink and State Representative Maurice West.
Special tributes were performed by: Auburn ROTC, local Rockford Bagpiper, area musicians and singers including the Hononegah High School choir, participation by Rockton American Legion, Roscoe VFW, Rockton and Harlem Roscoe Fire Departments.
A ceremony in Rockford Wednesday morning highlighted the importance of educating the next generation about 9/11.
“Some of them may have been in diapers when that happened,” said Chad Roth, Rock Valley College Fire Science Program Coordinator. “Some barely even born yet. So it’s our responsibility then to convey that feeling to let them know what it meant to us when that took place.
The victims of 9/11 and first responders were honored at the Winnebago County 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial in Rockford.
The ceremony also celebrated those who want to serve their community. The memorial board presented a scholarship to a Rock Valley College student studying in the college’s fire, police or EMS program.
This year’s scholarship winner has a father in the Rockford Fire Department, where he draws inspiration to follow in his footsteps.
“I’ve always looked up to these guys and always wanted to be like them and the job they do because they do such a great job.” Scholarship recipient Joseph Krein said. “I’ve so much respect for the Rockford Fire Department and police and EMS and I’ve always wanted to be one of them one day so it was really cool to be honored in front of them.”
This is the second year the memorial board has given a scholarship to a student pursuing a career as a first responder.