The sun shone brightly in between the passing of the clouds, and the wind blew a comfortable breeze early Friday morning as several gathered at the Brantley Volunteer Fire Department to hold a solemn ceremony remembering and honoring those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Pastor Mitch Mares of Brantley Baptist Church opened the ceremony with prayer.
“In the Bible, we see two perfect examples of living sacrifices,” Mares said. “Isaac willingly lay down on the alter his father Abraham built, but God made a way and provided him with another sacrifice, the ram in the thicket.”
“Our Lord Jesus Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice for us,” Mares said, “and we see our firemen and police officers willingly lay down their lives for us every day—when we sacrifice, we give so that others may have.”
Brantley Fire Chief Harry Driggers conducted the ceremony.
“There were 343 firefighters who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001,” Driggers said. “That is the largest number lost at one time…Sixty police officers also died that day—All of these people went to work that day thinking they’d go home that night, but they didn’t.”
Volunteer firefighters and police officers make sacrifices for others every day, Driggers said.
Driggers recognized three former Brantley firemen who were present for the ceremony: Aubrey Carlisle, who was instrumental in forming Brantley Rescue along with his wife Murlene; Douglas Mitchell; and Jake Carnes, retired Fire Chief of Brantley VFD.
Carlisle thanked the group for setting aside a time to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11, as well as those emergency personnel who have lost their lives in the service to their community.
“Those people who lost their lives that day were heroes, and that’s what we think of our firefighters and police officers here every day,” Brantley Mayor Bernie Sullivan said.
Brantley VFD members Jimmy Johnson and David Catrett raised a new American flag, and then lowered it to half mast. A new flag presented by the Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments was also raised in memory of the late Lt. Lavon Mount, Brantley VFD member who passed away on May 2.
Pastor Michael Precht of Brantley United Methodist Church closed the ceremony with prayer.