September 11th is an important day to celebrate on the important anniversaries and years in between. For the City of Baytown’s Parks and Recreation Department, it was important for our first responders to have a place to honor the lives lost on that day, as well as others who put their lives on the line to save others.
Former Parks Director Scott Johnson helped create the Baytown Firefighter Memorial at Bicentennial Park. He said, “The idea was spurred by the death of Firefighter Nito Guajardo, who was killed during a house fire in 2004.”
Johnson added, “I told the Fire Department they put out fires and we build parks.”
It was that important for Johnson to get this memorial where it stands today.
He said, “The project is one that I am personally, very proud of.”
With the help of the local Firefighter’s union, enough money was raised to build the memorial. Guajardo and more names have been added to the memorial, but it has become a special place to so many people.
Parks Director Clifford Hatch said, “I was here when Scott was working to make this monument the best it could be. I’m glad we’ve been able to make it even better, with lighting and other adjustments. It is a special place at Bicentennial Park. You can’t go to the park without stopping by it.”
There won’t be an official City event this year, but 9/11 will still be recognized with a memorial ceremony, Sunday at 8am, at the monument. Members of the fire and police department will both be there to remember the fallen.
Fire Chief Kenneth Dobson said, “This is a very significant day in our country’s history and for the fire service. We are honored to gather at the Baytown Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial each year to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives to save others.”
While the monument was created after 9/11, it memorializes those who lost their lives on that dark day 21 years ago as well as the men and women who are the first response when we need help in the face of danger.