Remembering 9-11: Two years later

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

Today marks the second anniversary of the from the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Several local agencies will hold special ceremonies to remember and commemorate the individuals who lost their lives and the many rescue services who risked theirs.

The Covington County Enhanced-911 (E-911) Center will hold a public recognition ceremony for emergency personnel from 1-6 p.m., in light of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Susan Carpenter, who is the director of E-911, encouraged anyone who wants to celebrate the services local emergency personnel do for the community to attend. She said it's a good way for locals to be aware of the E-911 service.

"We'll show the residents our mapping system," Carpenter said. "We'll try to explain in detail what exactly it is our dispatchers do on each call. It's a good way for visitors to know about our system, but if they don't want to go in the dispatch room, they can still look through the window as they are passing by on the tour of the building."

There will also be a drawing for a grill, which will attract some people, said Carpenter. Kids will also be welcome, she said, as there will be red, white and blue stickers for them to keep.

Not only will the meeting be a commemoration of the bravery of the emergency personnel following the terrorist attacks, but it will also be a recognition of day-to-day bravery for local services.

"Of course we're celebrating the memory of 9/11 for our dispatchers and personnel," Carpenter continued. "But this is about recognizing the work they do every day, and I hope the public realizes that."

Carpenter said she feels the events of 9/11 have made people more aware of security in the US, but she said people still feel comfortable in Covington County.

"I think the terrorist attacks made people aware," she said. "But I also think people still have a sense of being in a small rural county without any situation that affects us that bad. In the back of their minds, however, the thoughts of 'what if' could linger. They've addressed those thoughts to us, too, because I've received several calls regarding (our security here)."

Carpenter added she has spoken to several clubs in the area about the facilities E-911 has, but also wants more of the public to be know about them.

"A lot of people haven't seen (the services we provide)," she said. "This is our opportunity to really encourage the public to come by and see what we have to offer. The facilities we have are really something to be proud of, because a lot of other counties' facilities are no where even close to the technology we have."

The Andalusia Head Start will also hold a tribute of 9/11 at 9 a.m., but their tribute will come from preschool children.

"There will be a prayer, and then the children will sing to the public," Faye Johnson, a teacher at Head Start said. "In the end, the children will each release red, white, and blue balloons in recognition."

Head Start President Mary Sue Ashberry said the ceremony is an annual event for the facility to show it cares about the country. The children will show appreciation to the Red Cross and the Andalusia Fire Department with a thank-you card, added Ashberry.

Johnson said the commemoration will be short, lasting only about 10 to 15 minutes, but sweet.

The Andalusia Ministerial Association will meet for a ceremony at 12:15 p.m. at West Highland Baptist Church.

"We wanted to provide something for the community," Leroy Cole, President of AMA said. "The day is a time of prayer and support."

Cole said Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams will address the crowd about local security measures. The public meeting will be about 40 minutes long and will be held inside the worship building.

"I encourage everybody to come," added Cole. "The attacks of 9/11 were a threat to the US, and the country is still threatened."