On Sept. 11, 2004, Payson Police Lt. Don Engler and Fire Chief Marty deMasi were among those asked to share their thoughts during the Patriot Day ceremony at Green Valley Park. Their words offer a unique perspective to the families, seniors and veterans of this community -- a community that each of these men have served for more than 20 years.
Here are just a few of their heartfelt thoughts about how the events of September 11, 2001 shook, shaped and strengthened America.
Lt. Don Engler
Payson Police Department
Even as horrific and tragic as these events were, some good has come from them. Some of the changes I have seen surround our youth. Many of our youth have come forward and expressed a desire to become police officers, fire service personnel, and military personnel in the United States Armed Services.
This reflects the character of the young people of this country. These are the heroes of tomorrow. Many generations of heroes have come and gone, and many more heroes will be born from these generations of the future.
I think if it were possible for us to ask a question of those who were the responding police officers and fire service personnel on that fateful day, we would receive the same answer -- would you go into that building knowing what you know today to try to save fellow citizens?
The answer would be the same -- yes.
I believe each of those public servants would once again enter those buildings. They saw it as their duty, and would again, even knowing what we know today. That is the definition of a hero.
Each of us can learn something from these heroes and if we could ask them one more question it would be: "Would you have done anything different?"
I think they would tell us: "Be sure to be thankful for what you have each day and be sure to tell the ones you love how much you care about them."
Fire Chief Marty deMasi
Payson Fire Department
I remember where I was and what I was doing ... I was in the fire station with Capt. Toby Waugh watching one of the morning news shows on TV after a busy night. The rest of the crew was still in the bunkroom sleeping. The anchorperson said they were switching to New York for a fire story at the World Trade Center.
We watched with a mix of fascination and dread because we knew any fire in a building like that was going to be a tough job. How tough of a job it would actually end up, we had no idea.
When the second plane hit, it was apparent then that this was no regular plane crash or fire story. Somebody had done this on purpose and our country was at war.
America's first responders have always been on the front lines of protecting this country -- from the colonial days to the modern day.
In New York, in Arlington, Va., and in a field near Shanksville, Pa., firefighters and police officers were once again putting themselves on the line.
We lost over three hundred firefighters, police officers, EMS personnel, as well as several thousand citizens. The sacrifice did not stop there though. Our military is now engaged against our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands have been killed and wounded and we all owe them a huge debt.
You don't have to be a firefighter, or a police officer or a soldier to contribute to the security of America.
We certainly need a strong military. We need strong and wise political leaders who will listen to, and guide the public.
We need parents who pay attention to their kids. And what we really need is for people to assume a sense of personal responsibility.
Everyday, regular citizens are doing what they can to help. Volunteers at shelters, at school programs, at nursing homes, hospitals, teachers and others contribute every day without glory, some without pay, but each knows what they do makes this country a better place.
Accept your responsibility and act on it. Do something.
Click here to view the Patriot Day community photo gallery