Members of the community will gather with local law enforcement and government officials next week to honor and remember lives lost in the terrorist attacks on the U.S. 18 years ago.

The annual 9/11 Prayer Service will take place at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Telegraph Park in historic downtown Marshall.

The 30-minute service is hosted by the Harrison County Firefighters Association 9/11 Prayer Service Committee in coordination with the city of Marshall and the various fire and law enforcement departments in Marshall and Harrison County.

It’s purpose is to honor and remember the firefighters, first responders and members of law enforcement, the military and civilians who lost their lives as a result of the attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.

“9/11 was a tragic day for the United States, the victims and their families, and all those who work in fire and law enforcement,” said Chris Osborn, captain of the West Harrison Fire Department and president of the Harrison County Firefighters Association. “As we gather again this year, we honor and pay tribute to those who were lost that day and we pledge, with our fellow first responders, our families and community, that we will never ever forget.”

Members of the various fire departments and ESDs in Harrison County, along with the Marshall Fire Department, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, Marshall Police Department, Waskom Police Department and Hallsville Police Department will be part of the service.

Marshall Fire Chief Reggie Cooper and Marshall Police Chief Cliff Carruth will share brief remarks, with Harrison County Sheriff Tom McCool speaking on behalf of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.

Elysian Fields VFD’s fire chief Andy Engdahl will speak on behalf of the men and women of the Harrison County volunteer fire departments. Waskom police chief Westy Meisenheimer will give remarks as well.

The Harrison County Firefighters Association Honor Guard, under the direction of Commander Jeff Hartsell of ESD No. 4 and Lieutenant Commander Bob Muzzy of ESD No. 8, will post the colors at the ceremony.

Members of the new Harleton High School fire academy — Karson Evans, Tyler Oregero and Clay Floyd — will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jim McCutchens, president of the Harrison County NAACP Branch No. 6185, will give the invocation and will play “Amazing Grace” on his harmonica in the concluding moments of the ceremony.

Dr. Doug Lockard, music professor and band director at East Texas Baptist University, will perform “Taps.”

The various departments will bring vehicles representing their departments, with Marshall Fire Department and West Harrison Fire Department providing ladder trucks for the traditional display of the American flag.

“The annual 9/11 prayer service gives us an opportunity, as a community, to come together to thank our firefighters, first responders and members of law enforcement in our city, county and country who sacrifice so much by putting their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” said prayer service committee chairman Christina Anderson. “We’re profoundly grateful for their courage and selfless work, we appreciate the sacrifice of their families and we pray for their ongoing safety on this day and every day.”

Anderson noted that this year’s 9/11 Prayer Service is dedicated to the honor and memory of the extraordinary service of former Harrison County Fire Marshall Denny Engdahl.

Engdahl served as Harrison County Fire Marshal for 20 years, from 1989-2009. He passed away in late July of this year.

The planning committee wishes to thank all participants and those who have helped with the preparation of the prayer service, including the fire and law enforcement departments.

The committee also wishes to thank the city of Marshall for their kind assistance each year with the venue, chairs, sound system, as well as blocking the streets around Telegraph Park.

Also, thanks to Melinda and Richard Gaulden of Meadowbrook Funeral Home for graciously printing the program for the ceremony.

Memorial Stair Climb

The service will end about 9 a.m., just prior to the inaugural 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, which is being initiated this year by Emergency Service District No. 3.

Local first responders will climb the stairs on the fire escape of the renovated Marshall Grand, ETBU’s newly-opened School of Nursing and the former Hotel Marshall.

As in other communities throughout our nation, the Climb is done in honor and remembrance of the FDNY firefighters and others who bravely climbed the stairs of the Twin Towers in New York to save so many lives on that tragic day in 2001 and who sacrificed their own lives to save others.