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A vow to remember
9/11 ceremony marks loss on 10th anniversary
3 Sept. 11 Ceremony pic1
Members of Chapter 970 of the Vietnam Veterans of America bow their heads during the invocation, part of a ceremony Friday at the Dawson County Emergency Services headquarters that marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. - photo by James G. Wolfe Jr. Dawson Community News

Remembrance was the theme Friday at Dawson County Emergency Services headquarters.

A crowd of more than a hundred people attended a moving ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. All those involved stressed the importance of never forgetting the heroism and horror of that day.

The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 970, the Dawson County High chorus and the Riverview Elementary fifth-grade classes were on hand, underlining the sacrifice and loss of life for all generations.

In his address, Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford stressed the importance of preserving the influence of Sept. 11 for future generations.

After the ceremony, Swafford expressed his thanks and underlined his belief in the importance of remembrance.

"I'm very thankful ... for the community support and the great attendance," Swafford said. "But most of all, I'm extremely thankful that we can come together as a community never to forget."

Riverview Principal Julia Mashburn said the fifth-graders' presence was important because the majority of them were born in 2001 and don't remember 9/11.

"Bringing the kids makes the message mean so much more," Mashburn said. "Unless we take the opportunity to bring this into their world, they might not know how big a part of their lives 9/11 is."

One of those students, 10-year-old Shannon Porter, was just three months old on Sept. 11, 2001, but said her parents were ready with an explanation when she became curious about what happened.

"My parents are very patriotic and they told me about 9/11 when I was 7 or 8," Porter said. "I thought it was just amazing what those people did for us and for those people who were trapped in the buildings."

Cathy Brooks, the county's community affairs director, said 9/11 is a part of the students' history even if they don't remember it.

"I'm just so proud to have these children here with us," Brooks said. "... It will affect them for the rest of their lives. It will affect us all for the rest of our lives."

Firefighter Tim Stowers said he was proud the station was able to play host to the event.

"It means a lot," Stowers said. "I'm just glad to see the whole country honor and remember the firefighters, police officers and military that give and have given their lives for a belief.

"And I'm glad to see the nation stand up and support the belief that freedom is worth fighting for."

Pastor Mike Owens offered the opening prayer and some remarks before the Vietnam veterans led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Dawson County High School chorus sang the national anthem, after which the Dawson County Emergency Service Honor Guard placed a wreath at the base of the flag pole.

A rendition of Amazing Grace by bagpiper and volunteer firefighter/EMT Mike Chapman then preceded a memorial message from the Rev. Charles Blackstock and Swafford's closing remarks.