Among those attending Tuesday’s Patriot Day Ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 was William Siddon.

He didn’t say why the ceremony affected him so much, but showed his tattoo that contained the words “captain” and “FDNY 343.”

“Does that say enough?” he said, adding that he was at that fire department for three years.

“I live this every day and night. Not because I want to,” Siddon said, with his fiancée – his reason for moving to the area – standing beside him.

Ceremony co-chair Mike Cox welcomed the small crowd at Center Lake Pavilion. “We hope you enjoy our program this evening and that you always keep in your hearts the victims of that terrible day in 2001,” he said.

The colors were posted by Indiana Guard Reserve Color Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Boy Scout Troop 3736 and the national anthem sang by Bryce Lippe.

Cox then gave the keynote speech, thanking the ceremony committee and honoring the county’s emergency responders “who daily answer calls to duty, not knowing what the outcomes will be.”

He said, “On this day, 17 years ago, our nation was in shock. So very quiet. Even while rescue recovery efforts were well underway at Ground Zero, at the Pentagon and at Shanksville, Pa. In a short amount of time, 2,977 people had lost their lives, including 412 emergency responders.

“Radical Islam had attacked the United States with four commercial airplanes, intending to show that the people of the U.S. were not insulated from being attacked.”

It is to remember the victims of that attack that the ceremony has been held for 17 years, he said.

“We pay tribute to the emergency responders who went running in while everyone else was running out,” Cox said.

It’s estimated that over 75,000 emergency services and military personnel were involved in the search, rescue and recovery efforts, which began immediately at the World Trade Center and Pentagon sites, he continued. Those efforts continued in New York until May 2002.

“In addition to the 412 emergency responders who died on Sept. 11, 2001, those who worked tirelessly to rescue and recover victims have paid a price,” Cox said. “More than 6,000 people who worked at Ground Zero have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer that have been attributed to the toxic atmosphere of the site, with thousands of others who suffer from breathing issues and other diseases.”

As of June 2018, Cox said more than 2,000 police, firefighters and medical personnel have died from ailments caused by 9/11. More than 3,050 children lost a parent from those attacks.

“These are the people – along with their families and friends – that we honor each year. That’s why we want you all to remember Sept. 11, 2001,” he concluded. “May God bless the USA.”

After Warsaw Police Department officer Brad Kellar sang Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.,” Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association Director Ken Locke asked those in attendance to remember where they were when they first heard about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“I was at Parkview Hospital and my daughter was in ICU, not doing well. And when the second plane hit and things happened after that, I found I had something inside me that said, ‘I’ve just got to go outside and see if the sky was still there.’” Locke said.

The sky looked exactly like it did Tuesday evening — not one cloud.

“I remember standing there, saying, ‘Thank you, Lord, the sky is still here.’ Maybe it sounds a little crazy, but at that point I needed to see the sky and make sure it was still there,” Locke said, before offering a moment of silence and a closing prayer.