County Comment: "Remembrance In The Park"

CUTLINE: Emergency Service personnel honor guard and citizens honor fallen first responders.

CUTLINE: Tribute Garden dedicated in City Park at remembrance ceremony.

CUTLINE: Commissioners' President John Barr reads proclamation for September 2008 Emergency Preparedness Month to Kevin Lewis, Director, Washington County Division of Fire and Emergency Services

County Comment
"Remembrance In The Park"
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland

On September 9th Emergency Service Personnel along with local dignitaries and citizens of Washington County gathered in Hagerstown City Park around noon to take time to remember those lost while protecting others. The ceremony known as "Remembrance In The Park" was organized by The Washington County Citizen Corp under the Direction of Verna Brown; EMA Coordinator for Washington County.
The Washington County Citizen Corp with assistance of the local police and fire agencies along with The Division of Fire and Emergency Services organized the event. Over a hundred people attended despite the rainy weather conditions. Ceremonies started out with a tribute to those who have fallen in the line of duty with the reading of names lost. Emotions ran high as names of those who have passed were read out loud, from two local sons who were lost in the attack on the U.S.S. Cole back in the year 2000 to the two latest losses of Officers Jeffery Wroten of the Maryland Department of Corrections and Christopher Nicholson of the Smithsburg Police Department.
September 9th events at City Park included the dedication of the "Emergency Services Tribute Garden" which is a growing memorial started in remembrance of September 11th. The dedication of the Garden included two new additions to be planted that day. The families of Officers Wroten and Nicholson took part in the ceremony by assisting in the planting of two trees in memory of their lost loved ones. After the planting of the trees, the sound of bagpipes filled the air and could be heard through out the park as everyone took a moment to remember those lost.
Washington Count Commissioner President John Barr and Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey III were also on hand with several other local dignitaries Tuesday to honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their community and their country. Both the Washington County Commissioners President and Mayor of The City Of Hagerstown presented Director of Fire & Emergency Services, Kevin Lewis, with Proclamations to commemorate Emergency Preparedness Month showing their support for community preparedness.
The final part of the ceremony came as Director Lewis recognized Citizen Corp volunteers for their achievements. Director Lewis commended them for their hard work with making today's ceremony possible. With that being said, the members of Citizen Corp unveiled the new Walk Of Honor. Once unveiled, Hagerstown Firefighter Ed Shindle of Local 1605 stepped forward to take part in the placement of the Remembrance Wreath with Fire & Rescue Association President Glen Fishack and Joe Kroboth III who's father Joe Kroboth Jr. was lost in The Line of Duty in 1998. The Remembrance Wreath was placed in front of the Walk Of Honor. Each individual brick on the Walk Of Honor has it's own inscribed dedication to different Police, Fire, EMS and Military Personnel who had dedicated their lives helping to protect other.
The scene Tuesday afternoon at City Park was a remarkable one to see. Over a hundred people took time out of their lives on a rainy afternoon to remember those who risked every thing for their community. Each year, the crowd keeps growing a little more. The Emergency Services Tribute Garden is growing and will always be there to commemorate those lost and to remind us all the We Never Forget!