Southeast Iowa Regional Fire Honor Guard honors lives lost on September 11

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 1:14 AM CDT
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WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa (KWQC) - Several Quad City Area events over the weekend honoring the lives lost on a somber day in American history, 21 years ago.

Commander of the Southeast Iowa Regional Fire Honor Guard, Doc Patterson said Patriot Day ceremonies carry the legacy of the nearly 3,000 lives lost on September 11, 2001

“Our society and our culture has changed,” Patterson said. “Now we have to continue on with the traditions but continue to lead with a vision. And that’s what this day means to us.”

At the ceremony, the honor guard held a procession, followed by some remarks by Patterson to remember the over 400 first responders lost on 9/11

Even though the honor guard’s Pipe Major and Deputy Commander, John Grunwald, was thousands of miles away, he said the aftermath is something he will never forget.

“The patriotism that came from that ... unity with the united states was, was just so overwhelming,” Grunwald said. “It always hits me right in the feels, and it gets very emotional.”

During the ceremony, two grandchildren of fallen Libertyville firefighter Brian Sandstrom were made honorary members of the guard.

Patterson said part of the honor guard’s responsibility is to educate the next generations about their traditions.

“We recognize them as being part of our team,” Patterson said. “It’s not replacing the fallen firefighter that they lost in their family, it’s showing support to our survivors.”

Honor guard Health Inspector Coordinator Sharon Menke said she helps out as much as possible because of the brother and sisterhood first responders have together

“Somebody has to carry the torch,” Menke said. “Somebody has to bring it back to light to everybody that we need to stay focused. We need to honor the people that gave their lives for us.”

Other QC organizations holding events this weekend included the Burlington Fire Department and the Rock Island Arsenal.