We held a special day to honor the memory of over 400 First Responders who gave their lives on 9/11/01. We rented the Corn Crib Stadium to hold the event and were greeted with wonderful weather and appreciative spirit of those in attendance. Special credit needs to go to Sue Fiene who led the effort to make this event happen. It was 8 months in the planning and building on our 2020 Red White and Blue Rally.
We began the morning with a special honor guard organized by VFW Post 454 and comprised of area veterans, police, and fire departments. County Sheriff Jon Sandage led the pledge and Grace Henderson sang the national anthem. Marine Lt. Col (ret) Paul Schimpf shared a few words on his experience helping tp prosecute Sadam Hussein for war crimes and the sacrifice made by so many over the course of the 20 years of the war on terror.
Paul then threw out the first ball for the day long softball tourney involving players of various police, fire, veterans and ISU College Republicans.
A special section was dedicated with 13 seats reserved for the soldiers who lost their lives in Kabul Afghanistan on August 26 as well as all the soldiers who have died in the war on terror.
In the afternoon a special walk was held "2071 Steps Honor Walk" to raise funds for Tunnel To Towers Foundation that supports the families of fallen first responders across the nation. The fundraising resulted in $500 being donated.
Just before the honor walk a special flyover took place by the Stearman Flight which was comprised of vintage aircraft flying with a Lost Man formation right over the Corn Crib Stadium.
Activities for the kids took place from 12-5 with bounce houses and games.
The softball tourney ended about 5:00 with a winning team comprised of both Police and Fire. The team was awarded a traveling trophy which will be engraved and brought next year to next softball tourney at the 2022 Red White and Blue Rally. Special thanks to American Legion Post 635 who provided the jerseys that the teams wore for the tournament.
The evening program was a moving event that included the Habitat for Humanity Choir directed by Mike Claver, the Celtic Cross Pipes and Drum Corp, Bloomington Mayor Mwilambwe, Ty Smith, Chaplain Mel Barth of Heroes from Ground Zero and Congressman Darin LaHood
A very special time came when audience members who had been handed out the names of fallen first responders from 9/11 brought their cards down to the field to set them at the base of the 9/11 Tribute while the Celtic Cross Pipes and Drum Corp played. It was time to honor those names and reflect on their sacrifice.
We did not want to end on such a somber note so to honor the resilience of our nation to rise out of such tragedy, we ended the evening with an amazing 20 minute fireworks tribute to that spirit. The fireworks were sponsored by Central Illinois Leathernecks Detachment #988 Marine Corp League. The audience was able to go down to the field to stretch out under the perfect evening stars and enjoy the fireworks show.
We have a picture record of the day for you to enjoy. And in case you want to see the front page write up in the Pantagraph on the event here is that link: GOP Red White and Blue Event
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR VOLUNTEERS AND SPONSORS!
9/11/RED WHITE AND BLUE SPONSORS 2021
Marine League- Fireworks Sponsor Central Illinois Leathernecks
Detachment #988 Marine Corp League
American Legion Post #635 Normal Softball Team Jersey
Rad Media- Raise the Flag Sponsor
AMVETS Post #270- Raise the Flag Sponsor
VFW Auxillary Post 454 Stearman Flight sponsor
Floyd Aper, Coldwell Banker - Event T-Shirt
Scritchlow Concrete and Slab Jacking for Event T-shirt
KD Kitchen, Bath and More/ Dennis Grundler - Traveling Trophy
State Senator Jason Barickman
David and Connie Beard
Denbesten Real Estate
Chuck Erickson, Attorney at Law
McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael
Dr. David & Hon. Deb Skillrud
Thanks to our team leaders Norma Brown, Jim Snyder, and Judy Tovey
Kim and Richard Miller
AND OTHERS WHO JUST STEPPED UP AND SAID "How can I help?"
May we never forget 9/11 and the men and women who serve us now as first responders.