Lieutenant Aaron Thompson, a member of the Pikeville Police Department Honor Guard, participated in a Patriot Day ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 10 on the Pikeville campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) held Patriot Day ceremonies on its Pikeville, Prestonsburg and Mayo campuses on Thursday, September 10.

Patriot Day is a day of remembrance of the September 11, 2001 attacks of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and in Shanksville, Penn. that killed 2,977 people.

Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, was the keynote speaker at the Pikeville campus ceremony. He said the phrase 9-11 evoked a special memory, a memory of a moment in the nations history when the world changed forever.

We remember once again how ordinary human beings, living in their ordinary lives, reacted with extraordinary heroism when without warning and in an instant they were thrown face to face with the most fundamental questions of human existence, said Dr. Stephenson. The age-old principles of duty, loyalty, self-sacrifice and love still have meaning, and still flourish in the hearts of the ordinary people we live and work with every day.

Dr. Stephenson encouraged the audience to embrace an attitude of triumph and celebrate the kindness of the human spirit.

We must all continue to pull together and push against evil, he added. We must focus on all that is right in this great land of the free and home of the brave. We must let our patriotism ring loud and strong.

Members of the first responder, police and military communities were on hand for the ceremonies.

Dr. Stephenson concluded his remarks with an excerpt from President Abraham Lincolns second inaugural address: With malice towards none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nations wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves and with all nations.

Dr. Nancy B. Johnson, provost of BSCTC, was keynote speaker at a ceremony on the Prestonsburg campus. Brad Teeters, a Paintsville attorney and U.S. Army veteran, was the keynote speaker at a ceremony on the Mayo campus.