Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Idaho recognizes 9/11 as Patriot Day

Governor presides over anniversary ceremony

Express Staff Writer

New York and Idaho. In both places, and on both days, Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 11, 2006, the skies were bright and crisp, awash in the aura of late summer.

While the states are far from each other physically, it is not so in the minds of many former New Yorkers who now live in the Wood River Valley, and the many who come as seasonal visitors.

If 9/11 is a day to acknowledge one's home country and the attacks upon it, it's also a day to allow our minds to recall a safer world. In New York City that world was dominated by the sight of two large towers that were filled with thousands of people making a living, making friends and going about their lives. The towers that housed those ordinary folks were the exclamation points at the southwestern tip of Manhattan Island. They showed the lost which way to go in a town full of tall towers.

On Monday, across the country as in New York, there were ceremonies to remember those killed five years ago in four hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Center buildings, on the ground in rural Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

In Boise, Gov. Jim Risch presided over a reflective ceremony. Risch proclaimed the day Patriot Day in the state of Idaho. Held on the Statehouse steps, the event was attended by police, firefighters and other first responders.

"We must never forget that this was an attack, not just against our country, but against our ideals of liberty and freedom," Risch said. "No terrorist attack will ever destroy the greatness of those ideals."

Rep. Butch Otter, R-Idaho, took the opportunity of the ceremony to build some political capital during his campaign for the governor's office. He said he would bring together Idaho's first responders for a roundtable meeting if elected.

"Today is a day for prayer, not politics," said Idaho Falls businessman Jerry Brady, a Democrat running against Otter for governor.

Other speeches were made by Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Secretary of State Ben Ysura, the state controller and treasurer and the Boise and Meridian police chiefs.

In Ketchum, the Planning and Zoning Commission recognized the anniversary by observing a moment of silence before its Monday night meeting.

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