Blues, Brews & Bites organizers to honor 9/11 victims at event

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 6:31 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - This year’s Blues Brews and Bites event already meant a comeback after being canceled last year.

Organizers will kick things off with an honor guard to remember the victims.

Navy Seabees veteran and Topeka Blues Society Board Member Gilbert Ramirez said the September 11th attacks brought back haunting emotions.

“It feels like it happened yesterday, I can see everything: the dust and dirt, people going through that dust, I can see that right now,” he recalled.

“I had spent two tours of Vietnam, I had been under attack and when I saw that second jet hit the building, I said to myself, ‘hell, we’re under attack’ and I had that same feeling in Vietnam when we first got attacked.”

In 2001, it was an added feeling of helplessness.

“Like, hell, I’m at home and I’m used to ‘Nam with my buddies, we were ready to hit the hole and start firing,” he remembered.

“Here I’m like ‘what am I going to do?’ I was full of goosebumps, nervous, I hadn’t had that feeling since I was in Vietnam I didn’t know who to call.”

In the years since the attacks, Ramirez has worked to support troops and show American pride however he can.

This year, as a member of the Topeka Blues Society, he’ll join Blues, Brews and Bites organizer Suki Blakely to put on a tribute to the victims.

Blakely said the post 9/11 world brought a hopeful sentiment.

“The camaraderie of the American people coming together after that tragedy will never leave you,” she said.

“We all did our own little parts to help where we could and there was a bond there immediate and it was kind of like everyone will do what they can to put it back together.”

The pair hopes people will take away more than music.

“I hope they never forget it and the main reason is they attacked us on our land our country and I hope they never forget it can,” Ramirez said.

“It’s indescribable the feeling and you hear the band and think ‘I’m proud to be an American’ and honor the people we lost,” Blakely added.

Doors for Blues, Brews and Bites open at 2:00 pm Saturday with the 9/11 tribute starting shortly after that.

Find tickets here.

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