9-11 ‘Bridger Valley will never forget’

Pete Roitz is pictured speaking at the 9-11 ceremony last Sunday night at the Lyman High School football field. PIONEER PHOTO/Virginia Giorgis

‘Proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…’

LYMAN — A group of Bridger Valley residents attended the 9-11 remembrance Sunday night, Sept. 11, at the Lyman High School football field for the 21st anniversary of the tragedy of America being attacked on its own soil.

The ceremony, hyped with the theme ‘Bridger Valley will never forget,’ focused on the tragedy of 9-11 and the gratitude people feel for the first responders and the U.S. military.

Tony Gillies, MC, started the event with a reflection back 21 years ago and asked, “What were you doing?” He continued by saying he was getting ready for work, turned on the TV and saw the United States, “had been attacked on our soil.” He added, “If not for the military and the first responders, many more lives would have been lost.”

Gillies noted the main speaker for the event was unable to attend due to illness.

U.S. Navy veteran Pete Roitz addressed the crowd. Roitz had served on a submarine when in the Navy. He said he had finished reading a book on the Vietnam war and noted he was a Vietnam veteran. Roitz noted numbers of Vietnam and Korean vets suffer from PTSD and said they can be helped. They need to ask for the help, and it wasn’t weakness if they asked for help.

Roitz defined ‘patriot’ as he sees the term. He said a patriot is the person who is willing to raise his right hand and take the oath to defend the country. He also thanked all military and veterans from WWII to the present for their service. He said, “When you raised your right hand and recited that oath, you became a patriot.”

Brian Hamblin sang a couple of the songs Sunday night. Hamblin sang Lee Greenwood’s song, “Proud to be an American” where I know I’m free…and no doubt I love this land. God bless the U.S.A.” Hamblin also talked about ‘God bless the U.S.A.’ but he said he also wanted to thank God for blessing the U.S.A. This ended up as a song he wrote with a friend. Hamblin said the U.S. was “pretty dang blessed. Even when we are stressed…God has blessed America.”

The lyrics Hamblin co-wrote included, “Thank you God for all you’ve given me…Thank you God for all you’ve done.”

Other musical selections include a couple from Garth and Ellen Walker and the Lyman High School band.

As the evening was drawing to a close, those who attended sang in unison, “My Country Tis of Thee” as the American Legion retired the colors.

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