Letter to the Editor - Ascension Parish remembers

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

     Our 9/11 Memorial Ceremony was more than what we had anticipated it would be.

     Pete and I passed out about 150 flyers to the fire stations, police department, sheriff department, and Fire District #1. Also, the invitation was placed on the fire fighters website and Facebook page. There were about 175 in attendance including families of Ascension Parish, with over 100 of firefighters, police officers, sheriff deputies, VFW Post #3693, and representatives with the Women Veterans of America. There were also in attendance the Mayor, Barney Arceneaux, Clerk of Court, Bridget Hanna, State Representative, Johnny Berthelot, City Councilman, Chris Loar, the Assessor of Ascension Parish, State Fire Marshall’s office and the Justice of the Peace of Ascension Parish. WBRZ, Channel 2 News was there and the memorial ceremony was a highlight on the afternoon news.

     Fire Chief, James LeBlanc opened the ceremony and shortly after we had a moment of silence and a representative of the Women Veterans of America, in uniform, played Taps on our bugle. Pastor Ken Spivey gave the invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance by the VFW Post #3693. Key speakers were the Chief of Police, Mr. Jackson; Sheriff, Mr. Jeff Wiley; Fire Chief of Prairieville, Raymond Poche; Fire Chief of St. Amant and Chairman of the Fire Department, James LeBlanc; and Pete Cole with the presentation of the flag.

     We donated a flag last year and Chief LeBlanc has it displayed at Fire District #1. This year we donated another flag to the Chief of Detectives, Mr. Weber that will be displayed at the Sheriff’s Office. Next year the flag we donate will be at the City of Police Headquarters.

     We were thrilled to see the “Spirit of Louisiana” fire truck parked out front along with so many fire trucks and rescue vehicles. A guest speaker spoke about the “Spirit of Louisiana” and what an honor to have it parked out front for the ceremony. But the most amazing and somber additions to the ceremony from last year was the 500 lb. piece of the World Trade Center and the framed picture of all 343 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

     We provided lunch for all that attended. There was not one strip of catfish left! We had plenty for all to enjoy and even had some leftover to give to the inmates that were there on community service duty.

     Before the memorial ceremony, I had the opportunity to let Chief LeBlanc know how much it meant for us to be a part of the day’s ceremony. He said, “This event would not be this big if it weren’t for Pete and myself.” We were extremely honored, blessed, and felt so privileged to be part of a truly remarkable memorial ceremony of 9/11. We look forward to this memorial event each year and other events that we are planning for the months ahead to help and serve in our community of Ascension Parish. 

Deidra Cole

Ascension Funeral Home