LEBANON, MO — The 20-year-old firefighter stood in the 90 degree heat all day in full gear to pay tribute.
The weight of what this day brings every year means something a little different to everyone.
People have their own way memorializing those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks 18 years ago. In Lebanon, there was no shortage of patriotism at their “Never Forget” event.
Of course, they wanted to remember the first responders and innocent people who died as a result of that terror attack. In Lebanon a few weeks ago, there was an assault on patriotism at the court house when their giant flag was vandalized.
On Wednesday, that community showed what it means to bounce back, and pay tribute.
Laclede County Commissioner Darrell Pollock dedicated a ceremony to first responders. He recalls 9/11 and the feeling in the days following.
“It was like America stood still. One of those things, everybody can remember what they were doing on that day. If you were fortunate to be alive during that time, and experience that, it was a tremendous sense of patriotism and pride, and we just want to try and keep that memory alive today,” says Pollack.
The event featured Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Davis challenging citizens to defend their freedoms.
It was headlined by the gigantic symbol of freedom that waves in front of the courthouse. Back in July, somebody tested the will of Lebanon citizens by burning and vandalizing the old flag there.
Laclede County raised a little over $8,000 to replace the 30×50 flag with two 30×60 flags. They only needed half the money for that, and the rest will go towards the Laclede County Veterans Memorial fund.
Speaking of flags flying, Firefighter Austin Umstead was just a baby when 9/11 unfolded, but he is showing how much it meant to him by standing over I-44 all day, in full uniform, waving old glory to remind people what today means.
“9/11 is always a real important thing to me every year,” says Umstead. “I wanted to do something different this year instead of just going to the memorial service, or just kind of sitting around praying and thinking about stuff. So I figured I’d get out and be active in the community, and show em, it’s always something we can move on forward and hope it doesn’t happen again.”