9/11 remembered at Union Local Middle School

MORRISTOWN — Guernsey County sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Heshbaum walked out on stage seconds after someone behind a curtain screamed, “Help, save me!” in a big, performative voice, and the tone of the room was absolutely serious.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that some of you have heard the cries of humanity,” he said, addressing the crowd at Union Local Middle School on Saturday. “All four planes said ‘American’ on the side of them.”

People gathered at the school to remember the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, along with the victims of the attacks and the heroes that were made that day. Guest speakers and the Belmont County Honor Guard delivered sentiments and decoration to instill some pause in the people attending the service, while hammering home the message that there is a need to know what is at stake.

“We trust everybody and not in God,” Heshbaum said, implying the airplanes stolen on 9/11 and crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and a field in rural Pennsylvania were too easily taken.

He said — in several ways and at several moments — first responders, veterans and all the others, such as funeral home directors, who take part in difficult processes surrounding danger are heroes of the everyday world, commonly receiving little thanks because “it’s their job.”

Tim Snyder, a minister at Bethesda Christian Church, wore an American flag tie with a white shirt, and he echoed the deputy sheriff’s thoughts, saying first responders and the armed forces “keep the very fabric of our society together.” He announced his frustration with those who choose to defy the police and attempt to harm officers. He said it’s a “travesty” we pay athletes more than those who put their lives on the line.

Heshbaum said terrorism did not begin with 9/11, but in the book of Genesis. He finished his speech with a recollection of a line of dialogue from the movie “Gladiator”.

“What we do in life echoes in eternity,” Heshbaum said.

The annual Patriot Day program was sponsored by Kelly Kemp Braido Patron Funeral Homes. Owners Jim and Sue Patron have a history of military members and first responders in their family: Jim’s dad and Sue’s grandfather served in World War II; Sue’s father served in the U.S. Air Force; and the couple’s nephew was a Marine who was killed in action in 2011 disarming a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The Patrons second eldest son was an Ohio State Highway Patrolman, and their youngest son is a police officer for the city of Fairlawn, Ohio. Their nephew was sworn in as a member of the Barberton Police Department in June.

“This is very important to Jim and myself,” Sue said of providing local residents the opportunity to commemorate the events of 9/11.

Patriot Day will be observed nationwide on Monday as a national day of service and remembrance.