Police, firefighters, other first responders and military veterans will have a parade and ceremony Wednesday to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and an evening event is planned to remember that day and foster harmony in Butte.
The parade will start at the Butte Plaza Mall at 11 a.m. and include police officers and patrol cars from Butte and the Montana Highway Patrol and firefighters and engines from volunteer departments and Butte-Silver Bow.
They should arrive at Stodden Park by noon for a ceremony that will feature military veterans and several speakers, including Sheriff Ed Lester and Butte-Silver Bow Fire Chief Jeff Miller.
“It’s a day of remembrance for everyone who lost someone that day,” said Ed Fisher, chief of the Boulevard Volunteer Fire Department.
For the second consecutive year, people will gather at the Civic Center Annex on Wednesday night to commemorate the 9/11 attacks and foster harmony and civility in Butte-Silver Bow County.
“There is too much hate, incivility and violence today and too much polarization,” said Ed Banderob, a longtime Butte resident who helped organize the event. “There is not enough emphasis on harmony, mutual respect and co-existence.”
The “Greater Butte-Silver Bow Harmony Day and 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance” is set for 7 .m. Wednesday at the annex at 1340 Harrison Ave.
There will be songs and dancing and numerous speakers, including Fisher; Lester; Miller; Butte YMCA Executive Director Philip Borup; Montana Standard Editor David McCumber; and Kareniesa Kohn, administrative assistant to Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive Dave Palmer.
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The event is being facilitated by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, the Southwest Montana Veterans Council, and the Greeley Neighborhood Community Development Corp. Inc.
“There is so much going on that is negative in the world, and all these different factions are at odds with each other,” said Mike Lawson, a United Veterans Council commander in Butte. “That’s especially so in the bigger populated areas.
“This is America, and we are diverse, and we need to get along,” he said. “We are a small city of 35,000 people, and we need get along and get everyone on the same page together and compromise if there are problems to work out.”
Several dance groups will take part, and songs that will be sung or played instrumentally include “Let Your Love Flow,” “Try a Little Kindness,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “What the World Needs Now,” and “Everyday People.”
Kohn will read a proclamation on behalf of Palmer, who will be out of town, and Lawson will give closing remarks.
Banderob said the harmony aspect is modeled after Harmony Day and corresponding events in Australia, which began in 1999 to foster community participation and celebrate diversity, respect, and inclusiveness. Tens of thousands of events have been held in Australia since then that have included community groups, local government, churches, sports organizations, schools, and businesses.
It starts at the local level, Banderob said.
“We can’t change the world. We can’t change the whole state. We can’t change the nation. But as individuals, we can change our community,” he said.