From public events and commemorations to personal letters for first responders, efforts are under way in Jefferson City to honor the efforts of those who witnessed the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago, as well as educate young people who may not understand the enormity of the moment.
Planning for Missouri's Patriot Day began more than a year ago, and events and activities will span two days.
At tonight's opening ceremony, the keynote speaker will be Joe Torrillo, a retired New York City Fire Department lieutenant who was found alive after being missing and presumed dead for three days in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
Saturday will be a busy day with events focused around 9/11, such as the Stephen Swiller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run/Walk at 8:30 a.m., the Patriot Day parade at noon and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at 1 p.m.
The Jefferson City Veterans Council will also rededicate the Veterans Plaza at the Jefferson City Police Department at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
The rededication comes after the memorial was enlarged to add almost 1,000 bricks with the names of veterans.
The Fire Fighters Association BBQ Team and Ladies Auxiliary will be serving pulled pork sandwiches and nachos all day Saturday at Sellinger Center, which is located across from the Capitol on Broadway. The cost is $10 per serving, which includes the sandwich, nachos, soda and chips. All proceeds go to the Fire Fighters Museum in Kingdom City.
Tribute to Heroes
Saturday will also mark the start of Operation Bugle Boy's Tribute to Heroes campaign, which will encourage community members and students to write letters of thanks for first responders.
Twenty years ago, Operation Bugle Boy began as a way to show appreciation to troops, veterans and first responders, said Chris Jarboe, president of Operation Bugle Boy.
While the Tribute to Heroes campaign has an emphasis on young people, Jarboe said, anyone is welcome to participate.
The goal of the campaign is for people to write letters to first responders on provided stationary and turn them back in at one of several locations. Stationary can be picked up and dropped off at: Ecowater Systems, 2105 Industrial Drive; Hy-Vee grocery store, 3721 W. Truman Blvd.; Moser's Foods, 252 W. Simon Blvd., Holts Summit; and Schulte's Fresh Foods, 1904 Southwest Blvd.
Jarboe said a committee will select about 100 letters to make photo copies of and send to all area agencies, while the others will be split up between the agencies.
Letters written toward a specific field within first responders, such as EMS, will go to an agency in that field.
"You don't want to send a firefighter a letter that was written to someone in law enforcement," Jarboe said.
Letters should be turned in by Nov. 8. He said the goal is to deliver them by mid-December.