DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County fire station no. 1 seemed the perfect setting for Friday’s Patriot Day Memorial Service. The solemn event honored the memory of the thousands of Americans killed when Islamic terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center’s twin towers, another into the Pentagon and still another into a field in Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001.
On this sun-filled September morning as the American flag waved overhead, students sang a moving rendition of our National Anthem and hundreds of attendees stood at attention to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, memories of that tragic day were rekindled.
Fifteen years after 9/11 much of the anger has been replaced by sorrow and pride; sorrow for those who lost loved ones and pride as we recall the heroism of the first responders who ran unflinchingly into harm’s way only to lose their own lives.
As we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Dawson County’s firemen, policemen, veterans and emergency medical techs, we were reminded that today we still live among heroes.
Rev. Charles Blackstock said, “We are gathered here today to remember all the victims of that tragic day and to honor the service and sacrifice of those first responders that faithfully came to the aid of their fellow man. In doing so, we also want to honor the first responders in our community for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Dawson County.”
Dawson County Public Safety Director Lanier Swafford reminded attendees that there are many heroes in our community. “I recognize Veterans Day is set aside for those living veterans and Memorial Day is for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for service and country, every red-blooded American man woman and child should be proud on Patriots Day for the great land we live in. May God bless America.”
Dawson County firefighter and EMT Chris Archer, a U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom,then unveiled an I-beam donated from one of the Twin Towers. The memorial was constructed by students in Lanier Tech’s metal fabrication shop to include a bell that he tolled in three sets of five rings in tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11.