GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - For many South Mississippians, the anniversary of September 11th brings thoughts of the victims and heroes we never met and gratitude for those who sacrifice to protect us every day.
On the day America was attacked on its own soil, hundreds of New York firefighters, paramedics, and police officers who rushed to the World Trade Center to try to save lives ended up losing their lives.
"A little bit of pride and a little bit of heartache from the fallen," D'Iberville Deputy Fire Chief Danny Miller said. "I'm grateful they did what they did to save whomever they could out of the towers."
Harrison County RSVP and the Senior Companion Program put together a 9/11 remembrance program in Gulfport and invited area first responders and military.
"We're having this breakfast this morning because our first responders sacrificed so much to protect us," said Evelyn Buckles, Harrison County Senior Companion Program Director. "We really shouldn't have this once a year. We really should have it all year long because they work 24-7 to protect us."
The emergency responders said the expressions of gratitude don't go unnoticed.
"We're very grateful and honored that they take the time to recognize first responders. 9/11 changed our country," said D'Iberville Police Chief Wayne Payne. "We in law enforcement and first responders in general are certainly honored when we are recognized like this."
"It really means the world to us," said Miller. "Pre 9/11, once in a blue moon we would get somebody to come by and thank us or we would get invited to certain functions. But now a lot of people have come around and shown they want to show their thanks a lot more than previous."
Volunteers served the breakfast at the Good Deeds Center in Gulfport.