Ceremonies in Pahrump remember events of 9/11

There was no shortage of area public officials at two remembrance ceremonies for the Sept. 11 tragedies 16 years ago this week.

The first ceremony, hosted by the Rotary Club of Pahrump, was held in the First Responders Reflection Area at the Calvada Eye at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Nevada District 36 Assemblyman James Oscarson was among several guest speakers who addressed the more than two-dozen residents, veterans and first responders.

“Today we remember how 9/11 responders demonstrated the intelligence of their skills,” Oscarson said. “They were masters of their craft and used it to save others. The images of 9/11 will be forever frozen in our memories. America has changed. No one anticipated the stages of recuperation or the emotional healing process to be so filled with challenges or new ways of receiving another human. We tend to forget our first responders, yet they are at our beck and call 24/7, holidays, weekends and nights.”

Oscarson, R-Pahrump, also spoke of the bravery and gentleness of all first responders.

“We forget the firefighter with the caring and gentle guiding hand,” he noted. “Before the fire, before the burglar, and before the heart attack, do we remember how much money, training and sacrifice goes into a firefighter fighting a fire, an officer entering an unknown dark home or business, or a paramedic’s exposure to dangerous infections? Do we remember?

“They literally hold life and death in their working hands, yet these same heroes have thankless jobs,” Oscarson said. “Regardless of whether it is a fire, police or EMS, they see people in their darkest hour. We must ask ourselves, who do we trust our lives to?”

Societal changes

Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly talked about the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, as well as the memories etched into the minds of those who actually witnessed the tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001.

“The planes didn’t fly,” she recalled. “For the first time in some of our lives, there was no noise from above. There was chaos on the ground. People were stranded, but they weren’t mad at the airlines or the government. They were mad at the perpetrators of this egregious act.

“Most anyone over the age of 21 remembers where they were and what they were doing when they learned the United States was being attacked,” Wehrly said. “Most everyone remembers the shock of it, the anguish, the anger, the resolve, and the coming together as a nation and as one people.”

Inspired hope

Additionally, Wehrly spoke about how the events on that day changed the mindset of many United States citizens, for the betterment of the entire country.

“Americans from all over the country began volunteering, giving donations, flags were flown from homes and business rooftops. Congress sang patriotic songs and prayed on the steps of the Capitol Building. The way our country and our people have responded to these and subsequent attacks, bring us closer together and reminds me of what it means to be an American.”

Cost of freedom

The sheriff also addressed the price of freedom in American society.

“Freedom is not free,” she said. “It’s a paid-for commodity. It’s precious and priceless. It’s paid for with the blood, courage, tenacity and conscious resolve of our military, our first responders and our citizen volunteers past and present. If our citizens intend for this great land and society to endure, freedom will continue to cost the lives of our love ones, our military, our first responders and our citizens.”

As she closed out her remarks, Wehrly said the 9/11 tragedy brought back memories of other infamous attacks on America.

“9/11 reminds me of Pearl Harbor and all the attacks made by foreign entities and domestic terrorists against the United States of America,” Wehrly said. “9/11 reaffirms that all people do not want the freedoms we have. They want to take those freedoms from us and replace our freedom with tyranny, slavery, and oppression. Many people died to give us the freedom we have.”

“Many people have died protecting that freedom through the years, in many places and in many wars just as our young military men and women are doing today and we, the first responders, do it at home every day. We are dedicated to protecting our way of life, the people in our communities, and the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state in which we live.”

Several other guests in attendance also provided their respective comments on Sept. 11, 2001, including Nye County commissioners Butch Borasky and John Koenig.

Nye County District Attorney Angela Bello provided remarks, along with acting Undersheriff Michael Eisenloffel.

Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services Chief Scott Lewis also provided his thoughts on the tragedy.

Lewis brought along the department’s Tower Ladder One firetruck which was in service at the time of both terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

An evening Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony was also held on Monday at the corner of Basin Avenue and Highway 160. The local Disabled American Veterans chapter organized the evening ceremony.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com, on Twitter: @pvtimes