Remembering 9/11: Gadsden Beautification Board hosts memorial event

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Photos by Kaitlin Hoskins/Messenger


By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor

The Gadsden Beautification Board hosted the 21st annual 9/11 Memorial Observance at the corner of 4th Street and Broad Street in downtown Gadsden Monday night.

The event recognized and honored the lives lost in the terror attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

The four attacks carried out in the air and then on American soil claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, Virginia and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

The day started with two hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers, then another hijacked plane crashed into the outer walls of the Pentagon. The final hijacked plane, which crashed in rural field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, was believed to be heading to government buildings — possibly the White House — in Washington, D.C., but was stopped when passengers aboard the plane tried storming the cockpit with makeshift weapons.

According to cockpit recordings, the terrorists decided to crash the plane instead of letting the passengers overtake them and take control of the aircraft.

The four coordinated terror attacks were carried out by al-Qaida, the global terror network founded by Osama bin Laden.

Though the deadly day in American history was 22 years ago, organizations across the nation observe the day and honor the civilians and first responders killed as a result of the attacks.

At the Gadsden memorial event, most attendees dressed in red, white and blue as a sign of patriotism. Others dressed in black for the somber occasion.

Tiffany Parnell, chairman of the Gadsden Beautification Board welcomed attendees and introduced the various speakers and performances. Dr. Cynthia Toles gave the invocation, the Gadsden Firefighter Honor Guard led the Pledge of Allegiance, Gadsden City Clerk Iva Nelson sang the National Anthem and the GFD Honor Guard lowered the American flag flying at the memorial site. Col. Wayne Davenport gave the keynote speech before the Gadsden State Show Choir directed by J.T. Harrell performed several patriotic songs. Attendees then joined in a moment of silence as the Gadsden Fire Department rang the bell, a tradition which honors fallen firefighters. Taps, the national song of remembrance, was then played on trumpet. Jim Feely, who witnessed the attacks on September 11, 2001, played the bagpipes before and after the event.

The Gadsden Fire Department displayed a large American flag from one of their truck’s ladders. The flag whipped in the wind, high in the sky, for all of Gadsden to see.

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