For many Dawson County first responders and sheriffs deputies who participated in Wednesdays 9/11 Remembrance service, the most significant events happened after the service ended.
In a powerful and moving gesture, VVA Chapter 970 President Wayne Watkins presented Dawson County EMS Director, Billy Thurmond, with a Flag of Heroes.
The flag contains the names of all 421 emergency service workers who died in the line of duty during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
We knew exactly who we wanted to give this flag to, said Watkins. We wanted Billy and the crew to have it.
Other gifts for Dawson Countys first responders came from children who had not been born when the attacks occurred.
Riverview Elementary Schools (RvES) fifth grade students showed their appreciation to Dawson Countys Emergency Services by donating baskets filled with snacks and other items.
RvES Principal, Julia Mashburn, said participation in the event helps them to better understand.
Our kids dont remember this, explained Mashburn. It is not part of their history, but this creates it as an experience, so that they can understand the importance of it.
Its a great thing for the young kids, he said. Ive never seen a kid that didnt like the fire department. They all look at us like heroes, but its just a job to us. We appreciate their thoughtfulness and wanting to do something for all the guys.
Thurmond said the baskets of goodies would be distributed to the fire stations.
Freedom is never free, Thurmond added. People throughout our entire history has given their lives to keep our freedom, and it is important that they are never forgotten, he said. And we are appreciative of the Board of Commissioners and the countys support in allowing us to always remember.
Hundreds attended Dawson Countys Memorial Service and each had their own special way of remembering.
It was a good crowd, Thurmond said. Its a community effort, and we appreciate everyones support.
During the service, Dawson County High Schools JROTC presented the colors and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter # 970 led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The DCHS Chamber Singers performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and later in the service, the group also performed America the Beautiful.
Sr. Chaplin, Pastor Mike Owens, presented the Memorial Message and gave the closing prayer.
Battalion Chief, Tony Chapman, with the Forsyth County Fire Department closed the service with his bagpipes playing Amazing Grace and was accompanied by the DCES Honor Guard.
After the service, Thurmond said he thought the services purpose was met.
We had brothers and sisters that were killed that day and our office, the sheriffs office, and our county will always make sure they are remembered.