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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
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patriotday.2015

Favre Says Service Best Way to Honor Memory of Those Lost in 9/11 Attacks

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 11, 2015) – While recognizing that there is no shortage of issues that require courage and commitment on behalf of United States citizens, Gregg Favre, a seasoned captain with the St. Louis Fire Department, insists that action through service is the best way to honor the memory of those who lost their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil.

Patriot Day 2015

Favre, who received the University of Central Missouri’s Outstanding Recent Alumni Award in 2014, was the keynote speaker for the annual Patriot Day observance Friday, Sept. 11 on the university quadrangle. He spoke to a crowd of more than 200 people, including UCM students, faculty and staff members, and a large number of city and county firefighters and other first responders. An American flag hoisted from a ladder truck parked near the W.C. Morris Science Building contributed to a patriotic backdrop for Favre’s speech.

Favre’s remarks followed comments from Deborah Curtis, provost-chief learning officer, who told the crowd, “In the 14 years since the events of 9/11 we have persisted in uplifting what makes this nation great, our invincible spirit, boundless capacity to heal, and an unaltered sense of dignity that moves us forward. We take this time to honor and remember those we lost on 9/11, the mothers, the fathers, daughters, sons and friends, who were victims of the attacks - the courageous men and women who dedicated themselves to the rescue efforts, many of whom lost their lives. They remind us that we are one family and amazingly resilient.”

Favre shared memories of watching the terrorist attacks unfold in Manhattan, NY, via television, and how he and other firefighters observed some of the nuances common among the first responders to arrive at the scene. He spoke about some of the heroes who emerged, and he and his colleagues’ reaction to the sound of emergency beacons worn by firefighters that activate when they are motionless for more than 30 seconds.   

“In our world the activation one of these devices is enough to send shivers down the spine of the most veteran firefighters,” Favre said. “As I sat in the kitchen that morning having just witnessed the collapse of the skyscraper, I heard hundreds of these alarms screaming back at me through the television. It is the most depressing sound for me on Sept. 11, and one that I will certainly never forget.”

Favre spoke about three individuals who performed heroic acts in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, adding that they are the backdrop to millions of other stories that deserve to be shared.

“In cities large and small, the ground swell of support was tremendous,” he noted. “Lines to donate blood spanned city blocks, physicians and nurses streamed into triage facilities ready to help, CEOs organized the collection of food and water to give to first responders working at ground zero, and chaplains of all denominations  provided comfort and compassion to the faithful and the fearful alike.

“These stories are important, and names should be spoken and acts should be retold. But this remembrance we’re having today is not just a look back. It is very much a look forward. It’s about using tragedy, the courage and conviction that we can shape as models for our own lives.

“The challenge to all of us today is what do we do, what is our action to celebrate Patriot Day? This can help us reflect, but it should also serve to inspire our own everyday service that we weave into the fabric of the community we live in,” Favre told the UCM crowd.

He added, “Fourteen years after Sept. 11 the world is certainly no less dangerous…If you take away one point from our gathering today, I would ask that it be this:  as you hear the heroic stories of that fall morning, ask yourself, what am I willing to stand for. We know that change is driven by people. It may be organized by a church or even a government program, but real palpable change occurs when people show up, roll up their sleeves, and say ‘I’ll help.’”

“In a thousand ways between soldier and civilian, firefighter and fraternity brother, pastor and business owner, acts of service have a phenomenal ability to influence our world and shape how we interact with it,” Favre said. “It helps us to find our own sense of integrity. It deepens our ability to empathize and improve our willingness to tolerate those who are different from us. This ultimately is how true remembrance happens.”

In addition to Favre’s remarks, the event featured the singing of the national anthem by A1C Andrew T. Smith, Whiteman Air Force Base; rifle tribute by Clinton High School Junior ROTC Armed Exhibition Team, directed by
Lt. Col. Maella M. Blalock; performance of TAPS by A1C Thomas Richards and A1C Amanda Blossom, WAFB; and the firing of a cannon and return of flags to full- and half-mast by the UCM Army ROTC battalion.

 Also part of the event was the ceremonial bell ringing to honor first responders who lost their lives in 9/11 was conducted by Scott Ammon, a local firefighter and UCM assistant professor of safety sciences, along with Favre and four UCM students who are involved in a special program that provides real-life experience working with the Warrensburg Fire Department. A moment of reflection was presented by adjunct faculty member Lt. Col. Garrett Young.

The Young Republicans student group also provided nearly 3,000 small flags, which they placed around the perimeter of the quadrangle, representing the lives of each person who was lost in 9/11.