On September 11, I had the privilege to speak at the 9-11 Memorial Service held in front of the Courthouse in Jourdanton. The ceremony was hosted by County Judge Bob Hurley.
It immediately brought back memories from that day in 2001 that changed so many lives in America. It was an obvious attack on this country on our soil, the first significant such incident since December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. To those that did not get to attend this very moving ceremony, let me suggest that you try and make plans to attend next year, as it has become an annual event. The Poteet VWF Post 6970 Color Guard did an awesome job as usual with the presentation of the colors at the beginning of the ceremony. The playing of Taps by Poteet High School Senior Derek “DJ” Lozano was so impressive and certainly awoke the goose bumps on everyone present. Victoria Rodriguez followed with the singing of the National Anthem. After an invocation by Rev. Johnny Arrington, a list of invitees spoke to the audience about what this date meant to them and our country. These included Pleasanton Mayor Travis Hall, Poteet Mayor Willie Leal, Veterans Service Officer Sarah Gamboa, myself, Atascosa County Historical Commission Chairman Martin Gonzales and Jourdanton Mayor Pro-Tem Raul Morales. Many spoke about what they were doing when they heard the news of the airplane attacks in New York and Washington DC. I, along with others, detailed the tremendous loss of life that occurred that day because of these terrorist attacks. We spoke of the 60 police officers, 351 firefighters and paramedics and nearly 3,000 citizens who were murdered and how it affected their family, friends, coworkers and the citizens of the United States. One thing that was not mentioned that tears at my heart strings constantly, is the continued loss of life of first responders who were either there that day or worked at ground zero. Officials now estimate that more than 2,000 of the first responders who were in around ground zero have died of cancer related to the exposure to the toxic ash and chemicals they breathed in during that time period. According to officials, another 9,500 plus first responders and others who were around ground zero have been diagnosed with cancer. It is widely believed that the 9-11 related cancer deaths will eventually surpass the number of people killed during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Think about that! Again, we must NEVER FORGET what happened.
Until next time, be safe and please give me a holler if I can be of any assistance to you. God Bless America!
DAVID SOWARD is the elected Sheriff of Atascosa County. He has been with the sheriff’s office for 42 years and he is in his 7th year as Sheriff. Sheriff Soward holds a Master Jailer’s License as well as a Master Peace Officer’s License from the State of Texas.