Portage County bagpiper to perform at ground zero



Drew Parker

A local bagpiper will get the opportunity to perform at ground zero Sunday on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Mike Hostler, a retired deputy from the Portage County Sheriff’s Department and bagpiper for The Pipes and Drums of the Cleveland Police, will perform with his band to commemorate police officers and others killed in the 2001 attacks.

Hostler, who now works as an attorney, was on duty as a police officer during the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“The civilian people in that building that stood by and helped their fellow workers were the biggest heroes there,” Hostler said. “(We) honor all those who lost their families for doing nothing but going to work.”

Hostler said he considers his son, a firefighter who has been in the Middle East for military service four times, a major inspiration for his participation in The Pipes and Drums of the Cleveland Police. Hostler said being a part of the band makes him think about how important it is to protect freedom.

The Pipes and Drums of the Cleveland Police was created in 1996 and is composed of active and retired police officers of the greater Cleveland area. The band performs approximately 75-100 times per year for the funerals of policemen, services for local soldiers killed in action and other ceremonies. The organization has performed at ground zero seven times since the 2001 terrorist attacks by invitation from the New York Police Department’s Emerald Society Pipes and Drums.

Tim Riley, drum major for the Pipes and Drums, said the trip to ground zero is significant to the band because of the record number of police officers killed at ground zero.

“It was the deadliest attack on American soil,” Riley said. “It has a profound impact when you go and pay tribute to those who have given their lives to protect other people.”

Contact Drew Parker at [email protected].