Sep 11, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterOrganizers behind Riverton's annual Sept. 11 parade say they plan the event every year to ensure community members remember the significance of the World Trade Center attacks of 2001.
"You have to be vigilant," said Eddie Leake, who initiated the parade on the first anniversary of 9/11. "We don't want people to forget. ... You never know what's going to happen."
Leake's daughter Nicki Portschy remembered talking with her dad about the idea for the first memorial ride in 2002. She said he had been looking for some way to respond to the tragedy that had taken place a year before.
"He had started talking about it shortly after (9/11) because it was so horrible," Portschy said. "I'm very proud of him. ... He decided all the oilfield workers in Fremont County could get together."
The group has grown to include other local residents as well as firefighters, police officers and search and rescue volunteers who adorned their vehicles with American flags and patriotic banners Tuesday before driving through downtown Riverton with their sirens and lights flashing to honor the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.
As they gathered in north Riverton before the procession, Leake encouraged everyone involved in the event to sign one of two parade murals painted by local artist Jon Cox -- one depicting a firefighter holding the hand of a child and surveying the damage at Ground Zero, and another showing the New York skyline complete with two bright beams in place of the fallen towers.
Emergency medical technician Mallorey Moskovita said she was impressed by the artwork, which she made sure to sign. A first-timer at the parade, Moskovita was glad to be included.
"It's respectful to remember 9/11," she said. "It was a sad day."
On the 11th anniversary of the attacks, Moskovita said she would spend her day thinking of "all of the families that suffered" on Sept. 11, 2001.
Riverton fire lieutenant Eric Nowland said he will remember "fallen brothers," and Kevin Watson, who has been part of the parade since it began 10 years ago, said he will keep members of the United States military in mind.
"As long as we have military people overseas we have to remember (9/11)," he said.
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