Shortly after the attacks on 9/11 a bill to make Sept. 11 of each a national day of mourning or Patriot Day, was passed.

Since Sept. 11, 2002, the first Patriot Day, people have gathered to remember those who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

On Sunday, Sept. 10, Delaware County officials, clergy and residents met together on the lawn of the Delaware County Courthouse in Jay, to mark the 16th anniversary since the attacks in Washington, D.C., New York and Pennsylvania. 

“This is the second year that we have had this event,” said Henry J. Magee event coordinator. “For a number of years, 9/11 was kind of forgotten locally. I asked around before last year who was doing something and they said nobody so I started it last year.

"I started calling the pastors from around the county and they have come out. The county commissioners allowed us to have this event today here on the courthouse square."

Rusty Henson, with the Grove VFW, opened the event with the salute to the flag.

“Patriot Day is really special and the VFW recognizes the day on a national level," Henson said. "So many people military, first responders and civilians sacrificed so much as to what happened 16 years ago.

"Whether it is the VFW or the coalition of pastors it is important to keep those people in mind and we prepare for whatever comes our way."

Following the National Anthem, performed by a group of Jay High School band members, pastors from across the county led prayers over a variety of topics. 

Joe Wilkerson of Crossties Church in Leach spoke and prayed for the country’s military. Jim Paslay, pastor of Grove's First Baptist Church in Grove, prayed for the nation. Leighton Reed, from Galilean Church, prayed for the President and the executive branch of the government. Gary Barker, Colcord First Baptist Church, prayed for the families of Delaware County.

“If our churches and our church leaders are not willing to stand up in public and tell the truth," Barker said, "then how can we expect the world to hear the truth and believe it."

Robert Carter with Trinity Baptist Church in Grove, prayed for congress and the federal courts. Eric Armstrong, Leach First Baptist Church, spoke about and prayed for the state of Oklahoma. Jeremy Colvard of Mount Hermon Church in Jay prayed for Delaware County as a whole.

Miles Harris, youth pastor at Jay First Baptist Church, talked about the importance of the youth of the country.

“We call them the future of our country. But they are not just the future they are the now,” said Harris. “We need to not only keep praying for the youth and teaching them biblical principles or Christianity as a whole will fail."

Melvin Newland from Flint Chapel prayed for his fellow pastors and churches while Terry Wofford, Kansas First Baptist, prayed for the county's first responders.

Magee said many do not know about Patriot Day.

“We need to keep remembering not only for the military side of the event but the civilian side," Magee said. "God has seen fit to give Delaware County a host of wonderful sincere pastors who want to come together for the benefit of whole county not just their congregations.

"I think it is important to come together at this time and remember all those that perished that day.”