El Paso first responders, community commemorate 9/11 victims with ceremonies, service

Posted on Donna Kee

EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — The Borderland continues to pay its respects on this 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Wednesday morning, down in the lower valley — community leaders gathered at Fire Station 18 to lay a wreath at the 9/11 memorial, to remember all of those who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and aboard United Flight 93 that crashed in a Pennsylvania field. They also gathered to continue to pay their respects for the sacrifices made by first responders that day.During the ceremony, Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino, Police Chief Greg Allen, Sheriff Richard Wiles, and City Officials presented a wreath at the memorial. For some El Pasoans, this Patriots Day is different than the last 17. “Carry The Load” is a volunteer group that was at Fort Bliss National Cemetery Wednesday morning scrubbing and shining many of the veterans’ headstones. They did so as a way to pay their respects to those lost 18 years ago during the September 11 attacks. Between 100 and 150 volunteers chose to come out and clean off many of the headstones of the fallen heroes. Stacey James with “Carry the Load” says this is a way for the volunteers to show the loved one of the fallen — that their memory will live on for generations to come because they paid the ultimate sacrifice. “We’ve buried a lot of military members here since 9/11 who after seeing 9/11, raised their right hand and chose to take the fight across the seas to ensure another 9/11 doesn’t happen,” James said. It’s a somber Patriots Day that affects El Pasoans differently this year compared to others because of the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart on August 3. Allen said it’s different when your community experiences violence to that magnitude. “When you’re on the ground with something tragic, it stays with you because pictures, even though they capture potential carnage, it’s it’s not the same when you’re there. So, when you first-hand experience something, it has more impact and more lasting staying power with you,” Allan said. El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies were among those at a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Old Glory Memorial Wednesday.