Never Forget: St. Joseph County pays respect to emergency responders


Chapel Hills Funeral Home hosted a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony of its own.

Employees planted 3,000 flags and invited the community to pay their respects.

Among the crowd -- St. Joseph County deputies, firefighters and families were a part of remembering those lives lost and thanking their local emergency responders for their service.

Clay Township firefighters rang a bell in remembrance for the nearly 3,000 lives lost on 9/11.

"There were civilians that were lost and military members and first responders. So we thought that would give a place for the community to come remember and honor those that passed on 9/11,” said Community Outreach Coordinator, Lori Smith.

The Never Forget Tribute involved local emergency responders, city and state leaders. It even encouraged younger generations to remember that day with an art exhibit.

"Because the sixth through twelfth graders that have participated in this – the majority of them were not born on 9/11. So this is the way for them to really kind of think about and understand the impact that the event had on our country,” Smith said.

Battalion Chief Al Kirsits, with the Penn Township Fire, says he still remembers that day.

"I was teaching a river rescue school for the South Bend Fire Department. The Indiana Rescue I was employed by them and I heard that the one tower got hit. We were on our way to Notre Dame and I was actually able to stop and look at a T.V. and saw the second plane and knew that we were under attack,” he said.

Kirsits says while we remember the loss, we as Americans should also remember how we came together.

"It's good to see during a disaster Americans – different cultures, different styles, different politics pulling together and helping each other. I think that's what this day represents. That we come together and never forget what can happen,” said Kirsits.

Those who attended the event had a chance to sign a large Thank You banner.

The funeral home plans to take it around to the different police and fire departments so they can see the appreciation from their community.

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