Guardians of the Gap to honor first responders on Patriot Day

Published 6:49 am Friday, September 9, 2022

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The Guardians of the Gap is holding “Fire in the Gap Patriot Day” on Sept. 11 to recognize the service provided by the Cumberland Gap Volunteer Fire Department.

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The day begins at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast hosted by Nineteen 19 Grill and Bar. All donations from the pancake breakfast will go to the Cumberland Gap Volunteer Fire Department.

Following the breakfast kickoff, there will be a moment of silence, memorial and worship service at Berkau Memorial Park at 10 a.m., followed by a first responders parade through downtown Cumberland Gap at 11 a.m. The parade welcomes all first responders and their pets, including those who walk, bike and drive. A concert featuring patriotic music at noon will conclude the celebration.

“We will be sounding off a fire engine siren and holding a moment of silence at the exact time each of the four planes struck that day, starting with the first strike at 8:46 a.m.,” said Kimberly Koltar, the event organizer. “We will then read the names of all 2,977 people killed in the attack until the memorial service begins at 10 a.m.

“For the 20th anniversary commemoration last year, we partnered with the Cumberland Gap Volunteer Fire Department to hold a pancake breakfast, memorial service, and ceremonial walk. For personal reasons, it was a very moving experience for me, and I felt called to make this the single annual event that I will be responsible for organizing every year for The Guardians of the Gap 501(c)(3) organization. The first responders in all of our communities are heroes who should be remembered and celebrated with respect and honor, and 9/11 Patriot Day is the day that our Nation has dedicated to remembering those who died and the first responders who risked their own lives to save others on that tragic day.”

The Patriot Day events are starting small this year and hope to grow this event into a large annual remembrance and celebration of these incredibly special individuals. 

“Our first responders protect us,” Koltar said. “And for that we owe them a world of thanks.”