LUFKIN, TX (AP) - Fourteen years ago on this day, America was changed forever. Many moments of silence were taken across our nation to honor the thousands of lives lost on September 11th from a terrorist attack in New York City, the Pentagon, and rural Pennsylvania. Here in Deep East Texas, they along with local first-responders, were celebrated as heroes.
There to pick the pieces up and put them together at any cost are first-responders. They were our heroes when four airplanes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and rural Pennsylvania.
"We just take this time among others to give back to them and honor them," said Lois Milstead, Field Representative for Woodmen Life. "Since this happened 14 years ago, we've been involved in something going on."
Friday afternoon, their prayers and moment of silence served two purposes. They remembered lives lost and honored Angelina County's first responders who often risk their lives without hesitation.
"It feels really good to be honored, especially today because it's 9/11," said Corporal Joe Burton of the Hudson Police Department.
Milstead says this day is especially needed after recent negative criticism of law enforcement.
"We need to teach our youth as well as our seniors to never forget that they're there for us and what all they've done for us over the years," Milstead said.
"On any day, it feels good to have someone understand what we do and what we go through on the daily basis," Burton said.
The same valor heroes of 9/11 exuded while saving lives is in the hearts of Angelina County's first responders.
"I think more and more people are starting to understand the risks that we take everyday," Burton said.
Milstead has a suggestion for those who take our heroes for granted.
"How about we take three days and say all first responders go home and take a break since we don't need you. Let us see what we'd do without them," Milstead said.
Corporal Joe Burton of the Hudson Police Department was also given a personal award. It's title was caring for others.