City of Odessa remembers fallen heroes

by Michael Stafford
NewsWest 9

It's a day we'll never forget in American history. Six years ago, terrorists boarded planes to try and kill the American spirit.  But they underestimated our will power, especially the folks across the Permian Basin.

Each year, they honor those 9-11 victims with "An American Tribute" at Memorial Gardens Park.

And this year's ceremony took on an extra special meaning.

During this sixth annual American Tribute, we pause to salute both 9-11 victims and our men and women in uniform.

This year's tribute will forever be remembered by the Odessa Police Department.  14 year veteran Terry Mercer will dearly miss his co-workers who died this past weekend in the line of duty.

"We remember the two we lost Saturday and the one still clinging to life in Lubbock.  It's great to see all these people come out the way they have in this great show of support," Mercer said.

Organizers also added a 'candle of hope' for Officer Abel Marquez and his family, and they added five extra flags for the five Odessa officers who've been killed since the mid 1950's.

More than a thousand folks young and old, even kids who weren't even born in 2001 are becoming part of a tradition that makes America the proud country that it is.

One by one volunteers placed our 'stars and stripes' around the lake in a strong show of support for those who perished on that dark day that changed America.

Midland Firefighter David Hickman says "We think about New York being so far off, but men and women here locally have made that ultimate commitment, and sacrificed their life and we're touched by that."

Speakers and ministers at Tuesday's event asked for God's protection for all our loved ones serving overseas and those who put on a uniform every day.  They asked for peace and comfort in these hard times, and reminded us that our freedom comes at a very high price.