The Town of Vinton observed Patriot Day and a National Day of Remembrance for 9/11 in a solemn ceremony by and for town employees at the Municipal Building last week.
The ceremony opened at 9 a.m. with the “Striking of the Four Fives” by Capt. Chad Helms of the Vinton Fire/EMS Department. This ceremony originated in New York City as long ago as 1865. When a firefighter died in the line of duty or when some important official or personage died, headquarters would transmit five bell strikes, repeated in four series, with a slight pause between each series, followed by the announcement of the death. The custom has continued down to the present honoring departed comrades in the fire service.
The 9/11 program continued with the Posting of Colors by the Vinton Police Department Honor/Color Guard. Karla Turman from the Planning and Zoning Department sang the national anthem. Vinton Police Chief Tom Foster led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Vinton Mayor Brad Grose spoke to the crowd about the American flag and what it stands for. Town Manager Barry Thompson talked about the locations of the three attacks on 9/11 in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania.
Pastor Tom Figart from Grace Family Church on Hardy Road in Vinton prayed for first responders and all of those affected by 9/11.
The bell was tolled again by Chief Wayne Guffey from the Vinton First Aid Crew, followed by the playing of “Taps” and a moment of silence.
The written program contained a prayer for first responders that said, in part, “We thank God for giving you strength that exceeds any measure. We thank God for giving you a courage that allows you to run towards danger so others can be safe. We thank God for showing us all, through you, what it means to put others first. We thank God for showing us your bright light in the darkest times. We pray that today and every day you feel the love and support of those whose lives you have saved and changed, of the community you protect, and of God who gives us all strength.”
The plan is for this remembrance ceremony to become an annual event in Vinton in honor of the lives lost on 9/11.
The American Legion has asked that September 11 be observed each year as Patriot Day in remembrance of “the unprovoked attacks of September 11, 2001, upon America by foreign terrorists— to never forget that those innocent victims did not die in vain; the deaths of these people will always be remembered, and they will be forever loved.”
The Vinton Police Department is revitalizing its Honor Guard/Color Guard. A modified guard appeared at the 9/11 ceremony at the request of the town.
Deputy Chief of Police Fabricio Drumond and Sgt. Michael Caldwell organize Honor Guard events. Drumond says that the department has had an Honor/Color Guard for a few years but currently the group is going through a transition of new officers on the team. Those officers will be undergoing training and be outfitted with uniforms.
Drumond says that generally there is a Vinton member in most functions involving multi-jurisdictional Honor Guards.