BRUNSWICK — As members of the Cleveland Police Pipes and Drums band, which plays at funerals for fallen soldiers and law enforcement officers, Medina Detective Don Searle and Brunswick Officer Scott Stewart have seen plenty of sadness.
But with that sadness, they said, comes a sense of camaraderie with fellow officers and duty for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The officers will be taking their tributes one step further this weekend when the band travels to New York City for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Stewart said the band members are proud to be one of only about 10 bands with a personal invitation to the weekend’s events, which tentatively include a halftime show at the New York Jets football game Sunday night.
“To actually be invited to participate and represent the city of Brunswick, the city of Cleveland, is a huge honor,” Stewart said. “The fact that they would offer that to us, it’s just a humbling experience, and I’m very proud to do it.”
For Stewart, who plays the bagpipes, going to New York City for the 10th anniversary brings his memories full circle — he was playing with the band at a ribbon-cutting event in Richfield when the planes hit the World Trade Center.
“We were there waiting to go on to play to open the ceremony and somebody got it on their cell phone that the tower had been hit,” Stewart said. “And no one knew, everyone thought it was an accident. And then the second one got hit, we played the job and I came back (to the Brunswick police station) and I watched it with everyone else.”
Searle said he had just fallen asleep after a night shift when his wife woke him up to tell him what had happened.
“I am absolutely mesmerized watching this on TV, and while I was watching was when the second plane hit,” Searle said. “I looked at her, and I said, ‘This country’s under attack.’ ”
Searle, who plays the tenor drum, said he hopes to show the families of those who died on 9/11 that their loved ones are not forgotten.
“Nobody really likes to go to a funeral,” he said. “But you’re honored to do it because those things are going to happen and when they do happen, these people need to be memorialized and honored the right way.”
The band, which is made up of active and retired law enforcement officers from the Greater Cleveland area, has made several trips to New York City since 2001, but Searle said it continues to be important to remember 9/11.
“Being that we’re going to memorialize the kind of tragedy that we went through, that this country went through 10 years ago, it’s just the right thing to do,” he said.
Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.