COLUMBIA - Governor Jay Nixon was in Columbia Friday afternoon to announce the start of "Put Uniforms First" week, which will go from Sunday September 11 until Saturday September 17. Nixon encouraged Missourians to show appreciation for men and women in uniform by allowing them to step to the front of the line in restaurants, stores, movie theaters and other establishments.
Nixon proclaimed, "I'm encouraging Missourians to show their appreciation in a way that is both visible and personal in every corner of the Show Me State."
The governor reminded the crowd that many of Missouri's uniformed men and women went to New York to help out at Ground Zero.
"On September 11, 2001 and during the days immediatly, after thousands of law enforcment, fire protection and emergency response personel rushed to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to make courageous and selfless rescue and recovery efforts including Missouri responders such as Missouri Task Force 1."
Steven Winters was one of those who went with Missouri Task Force 1 to New York. He said he remembers a sense of unity from being in New York in the days after the attacks.
"There was one day we were up on the pile and they were digging out a victim and we were doing a bucket brigade, and we're standing on a beam: men, women, old, young, black and white and for that short amount of time everybody was equal. A bucket came past and you'd share with your nearest neighbor."
Winters was at Friday's conference and said that while it is a nice sign of gratitude, someone doesn't have to let him cut in line to make him feel appreciated.
"It's a nice sign of thanks, but a little tap on the back and a thank you is worth just as much," said Winters.