EKU ROTC participates in 9/11 Memorial Service
Tears shed during campus 9/11 memorial service
EKU Vice president, mayor and EKU ROTC cadet share their memories
A thick layer of fog crept into Eastern Kentucky University's Powell Plaza Friday morning as attendees for a community 9/11 memorial took their seats. During the ceremony, which included a long moment of silence for the victims of the attack, three speakers shared their thoughts and memories of that September day 14 years ago.
"I was in New York City when the towers were struck," said EKU Executive Vice President Laurie Carter. "I remember the sense of panic and sheer terror that was felt that day."
Carter said she was trapped without communication in the streets of New York as dust settled along the streets. As she made her way to the only train out of the city, Carter said she will never forget the compassion that was shown that day.
"The help that was given, even in a city as cynical as New York. Everyone was together," she recalled. "Everywhere I looked there was an American flag in the window. I remember the spirit of everyone in this country. "
EKU ROTC Cadet Capt. David Prewitt was only in second grade when tragedy struck the nation.
"I was just a young boy on that September day," Prewitt told the crowd. "I remember being in class and the teachers turned on the television while it was happening. We watched as the events unfolded. I didn't understand what was going on. I didn't comprehend why someone would do this to our country."
It was not until Prewitt became a young man that the impact of 9/11 was finally understood and it fueled his desire to serve this country.
"It is an honor and privilege to wear this uniform and serve," Prewitt said.
Mayor Jim Barnes spoke about the connection to another national tragedy and the importance of those that serve.
"It is a good day to be an American," said Mayor Barnes. "We have freedom and we should never, ever forget the sacrifices made by our military for that freedom. The day JFK was assassinated was a devastating day in America, and so was 9/11. I look at the young people around here and know they will never remember JFK, but they will always remember September 11.
"Freedom is our greatest gift, it is the most precious thing we have and we are so grateful to those that fight to protect our nation and our freedoms."
EKU Director of Military and Veteran Affairs Dr. Bryan Cole, who served in Afghanistan in 2002, delivered a very emotional speech to the crowd gathered.
With a quaking voice and while fighting back tears, Cole spoke about the sacrifice that is made by the "quiet heroes" around us.
Many in attendance wiped tears away as he spoke.
"I would gladly give all that I have to not be here today," Cole began. "I wish it never would've happened. I wish Sept. 11 was just another day on the calendar."
Cole said many young men and women put their lives on hold to go and fight for our country across the world.
"Many here today, will put their careers, educations, graduations and lives on hold for us," he said motioning to a group of ROTC cadets. "They lead, follow or otherwise serve. You may praise them for catching a touchdown on Saturday, but their service should be honored everyday, not just today, buy everyday."
Cole urged the crowd to thank the men and women who serve and the young cadets who have pledged their lives for this country.
"Remember these quiet heroes as they cross our paths," he said. "A simple thank you means so much."
Cole said he was not planning on being emotional during his speech in which he had to pause several times to regain his composure.
"I practiced it last night and did just fine," he laughed. "It is just something I am very close to. I have lost many friends who have served. EKU has many veterans here and the college does a lot for them. I feel like the deserve the honor and recognition."
Published on September 11, 2015