Red, white and blue rally remembers and pays tribute to those lost on September 11
Two decades after the September 11 attacks on American soil, the community of Twin City gathered on Saturday for the 2021 Red, White and Blue Rally to honor those lost that day and to recognize the elders. military fighters and first responders who have kept the country safe ever since.
Retired Lt. Col. Paul Schimpf, Republican candidate for governor of Illinois, expressed his emotions as the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
“Words fail me today,” he said during the rally at Corn Crib in Normal. “There is nothing I can say to take away the pain and suffering we felt that day. The emotions may not be so raw 20 years later, but they are still there.”
Before the event began, people in the stands stood up and recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner. Connie Beard, chair of the McLean County Republicans who hosted the anniversary program, began by thanking all of the military veterans who lined up on the baseball field – and recalled the tragedy that overwhelmed a nation.
Beard recognized all of the members present who served, before handing over the microphone to Schimpf. Echoing much of what Beard said, Schimpf was quick to thank the first responders and military veterans who were in attendance.
“In the event of September 11, this is one of America’s worst days and one of the best days in my adult life. The only reason there was no more September 11 is because of the sacrifices our veterans and first responders have made to keep us safe, ”said Schimpf, a former Southern Illinois state senator.
Schimpf recalled the evil America witnessed that day, but pointed out that America had become stronger and more united after the attacks.
“On 9/12, there were no republicans, there were no democrats, there were no conservatives, there were no capitalists, there were no socialists . There were only Americans. We must remember the unity and pride we all felt in the aftermath of September 11, ”he said.
After the ceremony, members of the Bloomington-Normal Police and Fire Department entered the field to participate in a one-day softball tournament. Illinois State University’s College Republicans chapter and VFW Post 454 were also scheduled to compete in the four-team tournament.