On Saturday, September 11, Appling Countians gathered at the courthouse to remember the tragic events of 9/11 and commemorate the lives lost in the terrorist attack twenty years ago. The Rev. Lamar Lee opened the service with prayer and then Appling County’s first responders paraded in with sirens screaming and lights flashing. The drivers left their vehicles and lined up in the parking lot behind the honor guard.
Sheriff Melton talked about the flags flying at half-staff. Only the president, the governor, and local authorities can order the flag lowered to half-staff on land; half-mast is for ships. It symbolizes respect, a salute, or a warning. America lost about 3000 people on 9/11/2001, but many others have died over the years afterwards because of things that happened on that day or during the aftermath.
Next the Jesup PD Honor Guard presented the colors along with the Appling County High School JROTC and followed by the first responders, who laid their hats at the base of the lowered flags.
Mayor Tim Varnadore spoke to the group. He invited the audience to walk around the veterans’ memorial and see the names of the people in Appling County who answered the call to fight for freedom. Twenty years ago, America changed. The whole world changed. Everyone can remember the exact spot you were when you heard the news. At first, we thought it was an accident; we were soon to find out differently. Young people were advised to find out about it. 3000 people perished inside our borders at the hands of terrorists.
“What I saw that day will live with me the rest of my life. The firefighters, EMTs, rescue personnel, and other first responders rushed to help. Time went on and we heard loved ones making last phone calls to family members. They knew this day was their last one. All their dreams ended that day. How would I tell my family? It hurts to think about it. We’re here today to remember. I saw the towers collapse. The whole nation was in awe. I remember the doctors and nurses waiting outside hospitals for the injured to arrive. We have no idea how many people were saved by first responders like the ones we have here today. We have families with missing members. Children have only photographs to remember fathers and mothers. We can say thank you to our first responders and we should. We’re fighting a different battle today. I pray that God will ride with each of you as you go out to rescue others,” the mayor said.
County Commissioner Darryl Edwards spoke too. He thanked the law enforcement and other public servants for their work. Those people went to work like on any ordinary day. Their daily routine was interrupted. Whole lives changed that day. Law enforcement officers ran toward the towers that day, not away. Every day they answer the call, never knowing what the situation will be that day. We remember the dates, but how about the more important events of the day. It didn’t matter what color you were, what political party you belonged to. Someone had attacked and killed Americans, and we all were furious. Suddenly churches filled up and prayers went up to Heaven. Things have happened since then. Across our nation today, we see law enforcement officers disrespected and even attacked themselves—shot and killed even. Their communities don’t have their backs. We need to pray for God’s protection. We can’t depend on Washington; we must depend on Almighty God.
Rev. James Futch closed the service with prayer.
Later that morning the Cry Out, America event was held in front of the Appling County Detention Center. Appling Countians gathered at the flagpole in front of the facility to pray for God’s protection and blessings on this country.