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Michigan Remembers The Heroes Of 9/11

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Fallen Heroes Memorial wall in Pontiac. (WWJ/Mike Campbell)  File

Fallen Heroes Memorial wall in Pontiac. (WWJ/Mike Campbell) File

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PONTIAC (WWJ) – A moving 9/11 ceremony at the Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial Wall in Pontiac Tuesday. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard noted the death of West Bloomfield Township officer Patrick O’Rourke, saying his name would be added to the wall.

“You know, we’ve lost another one,” said Bouchard. “A young guy, by all accounts everyone loved him, (he had) four young children, everything in the world going for him … it’s just one of those incredibly sad tragedies.”

Detective Jason French, from Walker (MI), near Grand Rapids, shared details about his friend, Officer Trevor Slot, who was also killed in the line of duty.

“He had a very strong … comfortable laugh – if you heard it, and he made his rounds and I was fortunate enough – that he stopped by my office and he shared thoughts with me, he talked about his family, talked about his children,” remembered French.

French says it’s hard seeing his friend’s name on the wall, listing his “E-O-W: End of Watch: October 13, 2011.” Walker Police Officer Jason Slot died in a chase of bank robbers.

While in downtown Detroit many people gathered to give thanks to all the first-responders who ran into the World Trade Center — giving their lives in an attempt to save others.

During the commemoration service, Detroit Police Inspector Charles Wilson read a letter of thanks from New York Police Department.

Please accept this heartfelt gratitude from the men and women of the New York City
Police Department for thinking of us on this 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and for
sharing in our memorial observation. Among those who perished that day were 23 uniformed
members of NYPD. Since those attacks, we have lost 50 members of service due to 9/11 related illness.

The letter indicates that they represent the best of what law enforcement officers throughout the
U.S. stand for.

Detroit Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis’s memories of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center bring back thoughts of where he was on that day and several years before the 9/11 attack – when the building was targeted by another explosion.

“I was there in ’93 when the truck bomb went off in Tower One — in the garage. And, I had left Ford Motor Company and had gone to the Bing Group. But, it brought back tremendous memories: walking through the World Trade Center, going to the restaurants, visiting clients,” said Lewis.

And while he recalls with a smile the friends and colleagues who still worked in the World Trade Center and died there in September of 2001, Lewis says everyone must also keep in mind the first responders.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee says we’ll also never forget the bravery and heroism of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Our nation continues to mourn the thousands of lives lost due to the unprecedented acts of terrorism,” said Godbee “… and to quote Maya Angelou …’and still we rise.'”

On 9/11, Chief Godbee says we also remember those who still serve their communities; those who run toward the sound of gunfire when others flee and those who enter burning buildings while others run from the fire.

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