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(LISTEN): Missouri Task Force 1 members praised during Columbia’s 9-11 ceremony

(LISTEN): Missouri Task Force 1 members praised during Columbia’s 9-11 ceremony

There were three large American flags at Mizzou’s Columns during Monday’s 9-11 ceremony in Columbia (September 11, 2023 photo from 939 the Eagle’s Brian Hauswirth)

Columbia’s mayor took time to praise first responders during Monday’s emotional ceremony at Mizzou’s Columns to remember the 22nd anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

“They show up on a person’s worst day, right. And they do it every day. And so, actually caring for them is one of like my passions when you think about making sure that our first responders have the tools and resources that they need to be cared for, because I know that they are showing up,” Mayor Buffaloe says.

The mayor teared up when taps were played by the Boone County Fire Protection District’s trumpet players and Bagpipes team. The city of Columbia and Mizzou held the ceremony on Francis Quadrangle. It included a procession, wreath-laying, and a presentation of the colors by the Joint Services Color Guard and city Honor Guards.

The 62 members of Columbia-based Missouri Task Force One who were deployed to New York City on the day of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks were praised by Mayor Buffaloe during the ceremony.  Tears were shed by audience members, as the mayor called out the names of 16 of those members who were at Mizzou’s Columns yesterday.

“We had 62 brave men and women of Missouri Task Force One left their homes, their friends and their families to deploy to New York City. So they were there a little bit over ten days looking through the rubble to see and try to find survivors. We had today with us here 16 of those, including our leader Doug Westhoff, who is the task force leader,” says Buffaloe.

Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief Gale Blomenkamp tells 939 the Eagle that 17 of the 62 Task Force One members who were deployed to the World Trade Center in 2001 are still active today.

The ceremony drew a crowd of a few hundred people to the MU Columns. That number impressed MU Health Care executive vice chancellor Richard Barohn, an Air Force veteran. He spoke to 939 the Eagle News:

“And there were a lot of young people that most of them were not born. If you’re 17 years old as a freshman, you weren’t born then,” Barohn says.

The Mizzou ceremony also included a flyover by the MU Health Care helicopter.