by Keator Poleman, Times intern
A somber quiet fell on the crowd as the men walked, side by side, up the road with flags in hand. The honor guard walked in unison and their gaze remained steady as they took their place at the memorial service. Visitors and public servants congregated at the Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs office Sept. 11 to pay their respects to those who died 18 years ago and those who continue to serve the community.
The Revs. Tommy Rush of First Church; Steven Harris of Abundant Life International and John O’Brian of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church offered prayers. Rush prayed for peace; Harris prayed for love and O’Brian prayed for protection. Following the service, Johnny Barnes, a member of the Concerned Citizens Association for the Bailey Heights Community, awarded the reverends and first responders.
Those awarded include: O’Brian, Rush and Harris; the City of Natchitoches Fire Department staff; the Natchitoches Regional Medical Hospital EMS; the City of Natchitoches Police Department staff and the 911 operators; Randy Williams and the Natchitoches City Marshal’s office; Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs staff and 911 operators; and the Natchitoches Parish Probation and Parole offices and their staff.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. thanked everyone for attending the memorial. He praised first responders, saying they do not run from danger, they run towards danger.