By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
The Gadsden Beautification Board hosted a September 11 memorial on Sunday at the park on the corners of 4th and Broad streets.
About 100 people attended the event, including city officials and emergency responders.
Pat Sherman, chairperson of the Gadsden Beautification Board, welcomed everybody to the event. She said that the board has held the event every year since the tragedy.
“We felt like we needed to comemmorate this event,” said Sherman. “We will never forget.”
Gadsden City Councilwoman Cynthia Toles gave a moving invocation.
“Heavenly Father, we pray that in the city of Gadsden that we will remember and that we will continue to unite our hearts in brotherly love.”
The Gadsden Fire Department Honor Guard raised the flag, and the Gadsden City High School ROTC led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, Gadsden City Clerk Iva Nelson sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.
Afterwards, keynote speaker Marianne Fuhrman addressed the crowd. Fuhrman spoke about her brother Gary Parker, a survivor of the World Trade Center attack.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Marianne was folding laundry and watching television when news of the attack came through.
She was immediately scared for her brother, who worked in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on the 102nd floor. Gary was a Gadsden City High School graduate in 1964.
She recounted Gary’s story of the attack. He heard and felt the first plane hit, even though it struck the North Tower. Gary called his wife to let her know he was okay. Not knowing it was an attack, he rode an elevator to the 72nd floor, switched elevators and rode to the 1st floor. Right after leaving the elevator, the second plane hit his building. Gary left the building through the underground, coming out on the street. He climbed into a taxi, determined only to get away, and later took the subway.
The company Gary worked for, Aon, lost 180 employees that day, some were never found.
“Every anniversary, I call him and tell him how much I love him,” said Fuhrman, her voice breaking. “Today as we honor Gary as a survivor, let us not forget those who lost their lives that day. their families will never be able to call them and tell them they love them.”
After the speech, The Gadsden State Community College Show Band performed several patriotic songs. There was a moment of silence. Keith Mayo played “Taps” on his bugle and Cecil Knowles played the bagpipes to close the ceremony.
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