Clarksville, TN – This morning, Friday, September 11th, 2020, Clarksville Fire Chief Freddie Montgomery and Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts led a ceremony to honor fallen firefighters and police officers and the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.
The ceremony also served as an annual opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of three Clarksville firefighters who have died in the line of duty: Firefighter Claude B. Walker, who died in 1960; Captain George “Pen” Wilson, in 1967; and Eng. Ray Harrison, in 1981.
“I’m pleased to see so many people here,” Chief Montgomery told the crowd during his welcoming remarks.
“We went ahead with this ceremony, despite the pandemic and while maintaining CDC health guidelines, to make sure we never forget these events,” stated Chief Montgomery.
After a moment of silence, memorial bell ringing, singing of the National Anthem, and prayer, Mayor Pitts offered the day’s keynote speech.
“I wanted to speak their names ahead of the moment when we will honor these brave men. Their bravery and sacrifice should never be just a footnote in our City’s history. We owe them much more,” Mayor Pitts said.
“And as the nation turns its attention, just for a moment, away from pandemics, racial inequality, and other threats to our future, we will mark this moment in our history, and keep this day on that revered list that will forever be etched into our memories.”
After the speech, Chief Montgomery pointed to a display of photos of the fallen Clarksville firefighters and asked a member of each family to stand as a firefighter solemnly presented them with a red rose.
The remembrance ceremony began at 8:46am — the moment when Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center’s North Tower on September 11th, 2001 — with a crowd of about 125 people gathered at Clarksville’s Fire Station No. 1.
Audience members, who were required to wear face masks, practice social distancing and undergo pre-event temperature checks, included various first responders and members of the Clarksville City Council, City Department heads, Montgomery County elected leaders, and Clarksville-Montgomery County citizens.