For Immediate Release

September 16, 2014

Contact: Tammy Sharp

Media Relations




ICYMI: In Remembrance of September 11th 

LEESVILLE-- A 7 p.m. memorial service organized by the Leesville Fire Department and featuring the Vernon Parish Fire Chaplains' Corps provided a display of remembrance at the Vernon Parish Veterans Memorial Park and a place for area residents to gather and show their respect for those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks.  

Guest speaker Jim LaPenna, an electrical contractor who was an acting firefighter when the towers fell in New York, spoke of the five senses and the way they were affected when he was on site.

Though the debris cloud that rose when the towers fell may have coated and blocked LaPenna's senses on that fateful day, there was no lack of things to see, hear, and feel at Thursday's memorial service.

Attendees were greeted by the sight of the Veterans Memorial Park's large flag at half-mast against the fading sun and cloudy skies. An arrangement of "The Battle" from "Gladiator" played by Chaplain Michael L. Kuk, PH.D. was also heard in the background.

After a quick welcome and invocation, Chief Dewaine Lawson spoke of the old fire alarm system. This system tolled a certain bell depending on the location of the emergency.

September 11, 2001 was the last time this system was used before it was updated. On that day Box 55 tolled across New York City. Thursday night, the sound also tolled in Veterans Memorial Park. Afterwards the colors were flown by the Vernon Parish Firefighter Honor Guard and The National Anthem was played.

The Procession of the Head Gear followed. A police officer's hat, a firefighter's helmet, an EMS cap, and a white and red rose were brought to the front of the ceremony to rest on a table as a representation of each group of men and women who sacrificed their lives on and after September 11th. After a moment of silence for each group, LaPenna spoke.

"There was not a cloud in the sky; that's why I wear blue on September 11th," he began. The crowd stood in silence as he continued to take them through not only the horrors he faced on that day and the days surrounding it, but also the successes he had and the moments that touched him and kept him going. By the time Chaplain Clifford Person Jr. began the reflection "If I had Tomorrow," it was easy to believe the end line that answered the question would those who helped in the aftermath of September 11th do it all over again. "If I had tomorrow, yes, if I had tomorrow."

The ceremony concluded with a Unity Handshake. Chaplain Shawn Waggoner encouraged representatives from the fire departments, police officers, EMS, and the military to gather in a line in order for all in attendance to shake hands with them, proving that ultimately the terrorists failed.

Visit Today's Country 105.7 for images of the gathering.


The City of Leesville, the best hometown in the world, is a historic yet visionary community. As the parish seat of Vernon Parish, where Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center are located, the City of Leesville is home to military families, retired veterans and a growing and strongly patriotic citizenry that provides the basis of a well-rounded and work-ready workforce.   


Visit us on the web at, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  

# # #