By Jeff Kazmierski, Copy Editor
On Sunday, members of the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department, the Bellevue Kiwanis club, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10785 and representatives from the Bennington Volunteer Fire and Rescue department teamed up with more than 200 members of the local Patriot Guard Riders to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
On display for the ceremony was a three-ton steel I-beam relic from the World Trade Center, donated by the New York and New Jersey Port Authority.
The ceremony was well attended, and the high turnout came as a bit of a surprise for Scott Tafoyan, ride captain for the local Patriot Guard Riders.
“We usually get about 30 to 50 [riders],” he said. “We actually ran out of water.”
The Patriot Guard Riders serve as volunteers, and their members are motorcycle enthusiasts who give their time to honor those who have given their lives in service to their country.
Citizenship and sacrifice were two central themes of the day’s events. Part of the ceremony included the swearing in of nearly two dozen new American citizens, all recent immigrants from such diverse countries as Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Togo and the United Kingdom. After they took the oath of citizenship, Bellevue councilwoman Carol Blood led the audience in singing the national anthem.
“Let’s show the new Americans how it’s done,” she said. “Let’s sing it loud!”
Following the ceremonial ringing of “Four Fives” in honor of the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, Cameron Cameron played the bagpipes in a stirring chorus of “Amazing Grace.” Bill O’Donnell of the Bellevue Kiwanis club and Paul Kennedy of VFW Post 10785 read a roll call of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.