Hundreds commemorate 9/11 in Fayetteville

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Members of local veterans' groups, along with the Fayette County Sheriff's Honor Guard, presented colors at the outset of the 9/11 tribute. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Members of local veterans' groups, along with the Fayette County Sheriff's Honor Guard, presented colors at the outset of the 9/11 tribute. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Main Street Fayetteville along with local veterans’ groups held Fayette County’s first-ever 9/11 Tribute on Sept. 11 at the Brightmoor-Southern Ground Amphitheater. The solemn tribute under clear skies was attended by nearly 400 people.

Flag-bearing veterans representing local groups, accompanied by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, conducted a ceremonial march to the stage near the outset of the tribute.

Vietnam War-era Cobra and Huey helicopters provided by the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation performed a low fly-over as the National Anthem sung by LaVada Vaillancourt-McCosh concluded.

Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson welcomed the crowd of nearly 400 people and provided opening remarks.

<b>Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb speaks about the sacrifices of first responders on 9/11. Photo/Ben Nelms.</b>
Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb speaks about the sacrifices of first responders on 9/11. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Sheriff Barry Babb paid tribute to 9/11 First Responders, followed by Georgia Military College Executive Director Gen. Rock Donahue (U.S. Army Retired) paying tribute to POW/MIA service members and Peachtree City American Legion Post 50 Commander Mark Gelhardt’s tribute to civilian lives lost.

<b>Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb speaks about the sacrifices of first responders on 9/11. Photo/Ben Nelms.</b>
Retired Gen. Rock Donahue, now the head of the Fayetteville campus of Georgia Military Academy, pays tribute to POWs and MIAs. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The speakers in their solemn remarks spoke of the price paid by so many, and challenged the audience to “Never Forget” the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001 and in its aftermath.

Their words on that cloudless afternoon filled the ears of those present at the amphitheater, all of whom sat in silent recognition that life can be fleeting, and sometimes cut short by evil.

The words of the speakers carried a relevance still felt by many in this country, even nearly two decades later — the recognition that a person can go to work one day, or go out for breakfast or hop a plane for a trip … and never return.

The victims on Sept. 11, 2001 included, 2,753 at the World Trade Center site, of which 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were NYPD officers and 37 were police officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; 184 people were killed at the Pentagon and 40 people were killed near Shanksville, Penn.

In all, 2,977 lives were lost on that day. Beyond those, many others died later due to 9/11-related illnesses.

<b>The Flat Rock AME Church Praise Team was one of the groups performing at the 9/11 Tribute at the Brightmoor-Southern Ground Amphitheater. Photo/Ben Nelms.</b>
The Flat Rock AME Church Praise Team was one of the groups performing at the 9/11 Tribute at the Brightmoor-Southern Ground Amphitheater. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Interspersed during the event were musical selections by Music Alive, Fayetteville First Baptist Church and the Flat Rock AME Church Radical Praise Team.

It was obvious that much work had gone into the preparation for the tribute. Readers are encouraged to watch the full tribute event filmed by city staff at https://www.facebook.com/fayettevillega.gov

The event was organized through the cooperation of Main Street Fayetteville, American Legion Post 105 (Fayetteville), American Legion Post 50 (Peachtree City), Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3650 (Fayetteville), Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9949 (Peachtree City) and the Marine Corps League Detachment 1325 (Peachtree City).