Smyrna-Clayton’s 15th annual 9/11 Community Remembrance Service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., at Citizens’ Hose Company, 103 W. Commerce St., Smyrna, sponsored by the Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium and the Citizens’ Hose Company of Smyrna.
All area fire companies and first-responders as well as other public servants have been invited to attend. The ceremony will include music and a candlelight vigil. The community is invited to join in this service remembering those who died in the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001 and paying tribute to our first responders who put their lives on the line for the rest of us every day.
This year's guest speaker will be Jimmy Hoppa, news anchor for WBOC-TV and a firefighter and chaplain for the fire company in Laurel where he lives with his wife, Carol. They have four children and five grandchildren. Jimmy and Carol led the Kids Church Konnection at the Park Lane Church of God in Federalsburg, Maryland for six years, and they have been in children's ministry since 1994. Now certified as lay ministers with the Church of God, they are coordinators for the new Celebrate Recovery program at Park Lane. Jimmy is a disaster response chaplain certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and a volunteer chaplain at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford.
The year after graduated high school, he broke into radio and hosted morning shows for the next 27 years. He said his fondest radio memory will always be when his toddler son would join him for the "Zachary and Daddy Radio Show" every Friday morning after Thanksgiving. He’s served as a news anchor at WBOC-TV, based in Salisbury, Maryland, for the past 11 years and now co-hosts the morning news and the “Delmarva Life” afternoon show.
Hoppa said he was “honored beyond belief” to be asked to speak at the Smyrna-Clayton ceremony, and said memorial services like this are extremely important to him.
“Of the nearly 3,000 lives taken by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there were over 400 that were not taken, but were given – 343 firefighters and 71 police officers rushed in to aid innocent people, knowing they may not come out. And they didn’t,” he said. “They deserve a crisp salute for their sacrifice, defined by Merrian-Webster as ‘the act of giving up something that you want to keep,’ as do those who are currently ready to make the ultimate sacrifice if called upon.”