Local heroes among those honored during this year's Sept. 11 service
By Shavonne Potts
One chime followed another after a moment of silence for those who sacrificed their lives during Sept. 11 and in this year’s fire at Salisbury Millwork took up that quiet space.
Firefighters, law enforcement and emergency personnel representing dozens of Rowan County departments lined the perimeter of the Salisbury-Rowan Firefighter’s Memorial Thursday morning.
The men and women, wearing dress blues and badges with a black stripe, gathered along South Main Street at Chestnut Hill Cemetery.
The memorial ceremony was another way to honor Salisbury firefighters Victor Isler and Justin Monroe, who died fighting the Salisbury Millwork fire in March.
“It’s significant to the city and fire departments especially this year because of Justin Monroe and Vic Isler,” said Salisbury Fire Chief Bob Parnell.
“As we continue to grieve and heal, it’s a way to continue to honor their memory,” he said.
Parnell said he found every moment of the ceremony moving.
“I’m honored to walk on this sacred ground,” he said.
As the honor guard made its way toward the center of the memorial’s Wall of Honor, bagpiper Bobby Hunter played.
The honor guard is made up of officers with the Salisbury Police and Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
Members of the Rowan County Emergency Services placed a wreath at the center of the wall of honor.
“Today we salute the life and memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11,” said the Rev. Mike Taylor, chaplain with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
John Morrison, president of the Rowan Fire and Rescue Association, recalled watching the news on the day of the attacks.
“This is a day that I will not forget, nor should any American,” Morrison said.
Rowan County Commissioner Chad Mitchell spoke about the attack that was not only on American soil, but on “the American soul.”
Mitchell offered thanks to those men and women whose “nature is to never stop.”
Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz spoke about Monroe and Isler giving their lives.
“That risk is real,” she said of the hundreds of military, emergency services, law enforcement, fire and rescue workers who answer the call to serve every day.
“Our community is a better place. We’ve gained new understanding of what it means to risk a life,” she said.
Jennifer Spry attends the memorial ceremony every year to support the men and women who serve.
Her husband, Michael Spry is a captain with the Salisbury Fire Department.
“I appreciate them having a service like this,” Spry said.
Spry is a member of the Salisbury Fire Department’s newly established Salisbury Fire Auxiliary.
The group had its first meeting in July.
Linda Stevens, a fellow auxiliary member, said it was in March after the deaths of Isler and Monroe that members saw the need to have such an organization.
Just seven years ago, nearly 3,000 lives were lost the day terrorists attacked on Sept. 11. This past year, at least eight lives were lost locally:
– Joseph Albright, Spencer Fire.
– Max Deal, Mount Mitchell Fire.
– Tim Hand, Rowan Rescue, West Liberty Fire.
– Victor Isler, Salisbury Fire.
– Bill Misenheimer, West Liberty Fire.
– Justin Monroe, Salisbury Fire, Miller’s Ferry Fire, Spencer Fire.
– Lewis Stone, Salisbury Fire.
– John Webb, Salisbury Fire.