The guest speaker was Robert E. Clark II, president of Wesley College and a retired U.S. Navy Captain and former Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, who was serving as commander of a submarine when the terrorist attacks happened in 2001.
The Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium and Citizens' Hose Company hosted the community's 18th 9/11 Memorial Service and Candlelight Vigil Wednesday evening at the Citizens' Hose Company firehouse in Smyrna.
The Citizens' Hose Company Band played patriotic songs before the start of the ceremony.
First responders from area fire companies, police departments, ambulance crews and paramedics lined Commerce Street in front of the firehouse.
Welcoming remarks were given by retired U.S. Air Force Major, the Rev. Dr. John Riley, pastor of First Presbyterian Church and treasurer of the Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium.
First State Military Academy of Clayton presented the colors.
The National Anthem was sung by Rosemary Hadland from the Citizens' Hose Company Band.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by the Rev. David Souder, pastor of Smyrna Wesleyan Church.
The Rev. Julie Lewis, new pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, gave the invocation. She has two sons in the U.S. armed forces.
Smyrna Mayor Robert Johnson introduced dignitaries and guests.
The community singing of "God Bless America" was led by Rosemary Hadland from the Citizens' Hose Company Band.
Citizens' Hose Company Past President Chris Hudson introduced guest speaker Robert E. Clark II, president of Wesley College and a retired U.S. Navy Captain and former Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Clark thanked all those who have served in the U.S. military and all the first responders, and he recognized the students from First State Military Academy and First State Young Marines for their interest in becoming the next generation to serve our country.
"This is a day we should reflect and remember, so by the resolve of the American peple, this day is not repeated," said Clark.
He talked about his experiences on Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked the United States, after he had just taken his first command of a submarine, the U.S.S. Connecticut. He recalled having to convince the group that this wasn't a training exercise -- this was the real thing. Two of the men had loved ones who were supposed to be at the World Trade Center and on one of the hijacked planes, and after an agonizing length of time they found out their loved ones were OK. Clark, however, lost a friend in the attack on the Pentagon.
"It was painful, but I also remember how has a country we came together and said 'Never again,'" he said. "You will not break our spirit. You will not break our resolve."
He closed by reading "Old Glory," about what the American flag symbolizes, and presented a copy of "Old Glory" to Madison Lomax, who led the First State Young Marines at Wednesday's ceremony.
The fire engine bells "5-5-5" were rung by Dave Mast, Past President of the Delaware State Fire Chiefs Association, and Past Chief and 50-year member of the Clayton Fire Company.
The Fireman's Prayer was read by Kevin Wilson, Past President of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association, Delaware State Fire Chiefs Association, Kent County Fire Chiefs Association, Kent County Firefighters Association and Past Chief of the Clayton Fire Company.
Rev. Dr. Riley read the names of the 11 Delawareans lost on Sept. 11, 2001: Valerie Silver Ellis, Bobby Fangman, Matthew Michael Flocco, Jon R. Grabowski, Robert T. Jordan, John Joseph Murray, Michael San Phillip, Davis G. Sezna Jr., Kevin J. Smith, Rich Stewart and William R. Tieste.
After the lighting of the candles, "Taps" was played by Jeffery Heilman from the Citizens' Hose Company Band, followed by "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes by Pipe Major Russell Johnstone and Bruce Johnstone.
Donations were collected for the Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium which helps people in need in the community with food, clothing, personal items and emergency assistance. Donations can also be mailed to Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium, 118 W. Commerce St., Smyrna, DE 19977.
Retired New York firefighter, Deacon Charlie Robinson from St. Polycarp's Roman Catholic Church, led the reading of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
Rev. Souder gave the closing prayer and benediction.