Big turnout urged for 9/11 ceremony
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
September 11, 2011 · Updated 6:10 AM
Whidbey Island residents will get the chance to commemorate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and show their support for local firefighters at a ceremony in Oak Harbor Sunday.
North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Fire Department and the Oak Harbor Fire Department will co-host a memorial service for the 10-year anniversary of the 2001 attacks. It will begin at 1 p.m. at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor.
“We would like to get a big turnout by the community,” said Ray Merrill, training officer for North Whidbey Fire and Rescue.
The ceremony will begin with a fly-over by a Navy search-and-rescue helicopter and will be capped with a parachutist dropping from the sky, carrying an American flag. Merrill said Jeremy Johnson, an Oak Harbor businessman, will make the dramatic entrance.
The fire departments from the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Oak Harbor will have crossed ladders displaying the American Flag. Guest speakers include Capt. Jay Johnston, Commanding Officer NAS Whidbey; Island County Sheriff Mark Brown; Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik and Marv Koorn, chief of North Whidbey Fire and Rescue. Capt. Johnston was at the Pentagon at the time of the attack.
Posting of the Colors shall be provided by the United States Marine Corps, Whidbey Detachment. Sarah Reinstra will sing the National Anthem, while a bagpipe version of “Amazing Grace” will be performed by the Whidbey Island Pipe Band. A picnic honoring all fire, EMS, police and invited guests will be served after the ceremony. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this memorial service.
Merrill said renowned artist Jody Bergsma, who has close ties on Whidbey, donated a patriotic painting to the fire department; it will be used in a banner displayed at the ceremony.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.