By Dinah Motley
Special to the
Opelika Observer

My mother used to say at the beginning of every school year, “Make it a September to Remember.” You can tell that was a few years back, since school has been starting in early to mid-August for many years now. But, it made me think of things I will never forget in September, like 9/11. I bet you remember where you were and what you were doing when those horrific events happened at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. I certainly do.
Events like these are the ones that make us so proud of the courage and sacrifice of our first responders who have one of the hardest jobs, physically and emotionally. By definition, a first responder is an employee of an emergency service who is likely to be among the first people to arrive at and assist at the scene of an emergency, such as an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack. Typically this includes police officers, firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
Few of us could comprehend that the Twin Towers in New York City could collapse from a terrorist attack. On September 11, first responders took on a whole new meaning. More than 400 first responders lost their lives, including 343 firefighters, 60 police officers and 15 EMTs. An estimated 2,000 additional first responders were injured following the attacks. These courageous men and women selflessly gave their time and energy to help others.
Approaching a dangerous or emergency situation head on while remaining calm is truly a virtue. We are so very fortunate to have highly skilled and certified first responders in Opelika and Lee County that spend tireless hours keeping us safe and saving lives.
The Opelika Chamber considers it a privilege to honor these brave men and women with the annual ‘First Responders Breakfast’ on Sept. 27 at Saugahatchee Country Club.