By Jade Bulecza - bio | email
VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - 9/11 remembrance ceremonies may only be held once a year, but many first responders say the people killed that day eight years ago are always on their minds.
Sergeant Blake Whitehead remembers watching the attacks in his high school classroom eight years ago. He says it's what inspired him to become a firefighter.
"To see those guys risk their lives like that, it was just amazing to me how they could put somebody else ahead of themselves and I knew I wanted to do that," said Sgt. Blake Whitehead, Valdosta Fire Department.
At a 9/11 Memorial Service this morning, there was a moment of silence at 8:46, the time the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center.
"I went from a point of being angry that someone would dare attack us, to being proud to be an American, and a firefighter," said Chief J.D. Rice, Valdosta Fire Department.
Amazing Grace was played followed by the presentation of colors and the pledge of allegiance.
Valdosta Mayor John Fretti reflected on the devastating day in history. The Woodmen of the World promoted patriotism and presented a flag to the police and fire chiefs.
Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001 including emergency workers and civilians. 343 of those were firefighters.
The honor guard rang a bell to recognize those that perished.
"They're remembered everyday, said Whitehead. "We do this once a year but in the back of our minds we always remember."
The ceremony ended with a bugle performance of "Taps."
Moody Air Force Base also hosted a fallen firefighter and 9/11 memorial service.
Lowndes County Commissioners also laid out a wreath in front of the courthouse honoring those who lives were lost on that day.
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