N.C. Lt. Governor Announces New Sept. 11 State Holiday, First Responder Day
Sept. 12—North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest brought a message of thanks to first responders in Henderson and Vance County on Monday.
A full contingent representing law enforcement, firefighters and EMS lined Breckenridge Street between the Police Department and the Perry Memorial Library/McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center complex as the lieutenant governor drove in.
Forest said a new state holiday was created by the General Assembly during the 2017 legislative session. "September 11 is now First Responders Day in North Carolina."
He went down the line of first responders standing at the Breckenridge Street roundabout, shaking the hand and speaking to each one. "Thanks for what you do. Thanks for keeping us safe."
He told the assembled group, "We want to make sure you know you're loved out there. We know the sacrifices you make and your families make, too."
Forest's stopover in Henderson was one of seven he was scheduled to make on Monday. He told The Daily Dispatch these visits are to thank first responders for what they do. "It's as simple as that."
The tour is also designed to spread the word that September 11 is First Responders Day in North Carolina, he said. "These are tough times in America, for law enforcement, especially."
During the 2017 legislative session, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 309, which created First Responders Day as a state holiday. It will be recognized on September 11 each year to honor the 24,000 police officers, 51,000 firefighters, 1,600 state troopers, and 40,500 emergency medical technicians who make up North Carolina's corps of first responders.
Forest's statement about the sacrifices of first responders is factually based. SB 309 cites statistics indicating that 1,649 law enforcement officers throughout the U.S. died in the line of duty between 2007 and 2017, that more than 1,500 firefighters were killed in the line of duty between 1996 and 2005 and that the fatality rate among medical service personnel is more than twice the national average for other occupations.