PORT ISABEL — Desidrio Tristan made his bagpipes sing yesterday as his way to honor and memorialize eight lives lost.
Exactly 15 years ago, what’s now known as the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway collapsed after a support column of the bridge was struck by a tugboat towing a barge carrying steel beams.
Yesterday, on the anniversary, many first responders, city leaders, the public and family members to those who lost their loved ones gathered together to remember the lives lost during the tragic event.
“We were some of the first responders at the accident,” Tristan said. “This event hit us hard.”
He said it means a lot to the firefighters to participate in the memorial.
The ceremony has occurred every year and is hosted by the two cities on a rotating basis.
Tristan and three other firefighters are members of the Brownsville Bags and Pipes band is part of the Brownsville fire department that took part in the ceremony.
Tristan and the band members set the tone for the ceremony when they played the traditional Irish tune “Minstrel Boy” and “America the Beautiful.”
The songs are commonly played at memorials and funerals for first responders.
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Names of those lives lost during the collapse of the Queen Isabella Causeway were:
Robert “Bob” Harris, Port Isabel
Hector Martinez Jr., Port Isabel
“Harpoon” Barry Welch, Port Isabel
Chelsea Welch, Port Isabel
Julio Mireles, Los Fresnos
Robin Leavell, Mercedes
Stvan Francisco Rivas, Humble
Gaspar S. Hinojosa, Kingsville