American Legion Patriot Day ceremony honors first responders

Now in its 20th year, the September 11 Patriot Day Ceremony presented by the Groves-Walker American Legion Post 346 has become a local mainstay event dedicated to recognizing first responders—and this year will be no exception.

Veterans of Farmington and Farmington Hills will proudly recognize those who protect and serve the community with Officer of the Year awards. Because COVID-19 canceled last year’s ceremony, awards will recognize police, fire and public safety officers for heroism in 2019 and 2020.

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In addition, the Farmington Public Safety Department will receive an Officer of the Year Award for their hard work during the pandemic. Director Ted Warthman pointed out that 2020 challenged public safety on many fronts.

“Despite all of those challenges, the members of the department continued to provide superior public safety services,” Warthman said. “They are all true professionals and I am honored to be their director.”

The annual Patriot Day Ceremony also honors the memory of nearly 3,000 lives lost in the 2001 terrorist attacks. Warthman said it’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since that unforgettable day.

“We continue to honor the legacy of all those that perished that day with our annual 9-11 ceremony,” Warthman said. “We will never forget.”

American Legion Commander and Navy veteran Marya Davis reached out to local schools and youth groups to attend the ceremony.

“Our children are our future leaders,” Davis said. “It is important to teach them to appreciate our first responders. The ceremony is also an opportunity to inspire young adults and children to respect the importance of military veterans, service to community and our nation while maintaining high values, morals and flag etiquette.”

The 6 p.m. ceremony, featuring four full color guards, takes place at the Walter Sundquist Farmington Pavilion and Riley Park, 33113 Grand River in Farmington.

The 90-minute event includes bugler Vitaliy Koponen, a Boy Scout and Sons of the American Legion member, playing “Call to Colors” and “Taps”.  2018 Miss Farmington Megan Cromwell will sing the National Anthem, and American Legion Auxiliary member Myrtle Granger closes the ceremony with “God Bless America”.

–Suzette Dexter

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