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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 12, 2012) – With a backdrop that featured the United States flag hoisted high above the west end of the quadrangle on a Warrensburg fire truck ladder, University of Central Missouri students, faculty, staff and community members on Tuesday observed the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.
Anna Kay, UCM music major, sings the National Anthem during the 9/11 observance at the UCM quadrangle. Joining her near the microphone were program participants, from left, Charles Ambrose, university president; Scott Ammon, assistant professor of safety science; Lynn Lowder, director of Military and Veteran Services, and Kay’s father, Larry Kay, executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission.
On Sept. 11, 2001 approximately 3,000 lives were lost after terrorists hijacked two commercial airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City. An airplane also struck the U.S. Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and passengers of a commercial jet lost their lives near Shanksville, Pa.,while preventing a planned terrorist attack on the U.S Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
“For many of us, this brings back memories of what it felt like 11 years ago,” UCM President Charles Ambrose said in opening the brief ceremony. He added that he recently visited “ground zero” in New York, where he saw the new Freedom Tower under construction. “It points to the future, taking circumstances like 9/11and building from it a stronger nation, while remembering those who sacrificed their lives for liberty and freedom.”
“Certainly, as we remember back and look ahead as an institution, be grateful for your sense of purpose and place this morning,” Ambrose told the gathering.
Larry Kay, a retired Brigadier General and combat veteran who serves as executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, was the keynote speaker. He addressed the gathering after the singing of the National Anthem by his daughter, Anna, a UCM music major, and an introduction by Lynn Lowder, UCM’s director of Military and Veteran Services.
Dressed in firefighting gear, Scott Ammon, assistant professor of safety science, rings a bell to honor firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks
Kay praised the bravery of the men and women first responders in the 9/11 tragedy, which included, along with the thousands of civilian casualties, 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers.
“Since that time, much of the feeling of disorientation that each of us felt has been replaced by the images of those who responded. They were the heroes of the day,” he said.
“Do you remember how they responded? It was as if they were on autopilot, in roles and positions, guiding them to where they were supposed to be.
“So why do we gather. Perhaps it is to honor the dead, the precious lives taken from us, but we all know there is more to it,” Kay said. “Perhaps 9/11 symbolizes the rebirth of the American spirit and our individual souls. It’s a time for introspection and review.”
Other remarks were made Scott Ammon, assistant professor of safety science who coordinated the ceremony in cooperation with Lowder and his staff. After demonstrating how quickly firefighters must be able to get into their gear, he conducted the ringing of a bell in remembrance of fallen firefighters. He used the signal 5-5-5, in which he rang a bell five times followed by five more bell rings, and five more for a total of 15 rings. The ringing of bells has been a New York City Fire Department tradition signaling to all city firehouses to lower the flag to half staff when a firefighter has died in the line of duty.
Ammon also recited "The Fireman's Prayer" in the ceremony, which included Color Guard, the lowering of the quadrangle flags to half staff, and the firing of a canon by UCM’s ROTC students. Also joining in the ceremony were students from the Department of Music, members of the Collegiate Firefighters Association, local firefighting units, law enforcement and ambulance service personnel from Warrensburg, Johnson County, and Whiteman Air Force Base.