VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Lowndes County and the city of Valdosta came together for a 9/11 memorial ceremony on Friday. This was the first event of its kind held since the pandemic.
“I think right now, there is so much uncertainty in 2020 and I think that coming together in a responsible, and in a way, us all wearing a mask, we wanted to show unity in our community. Especially in a day like today, so we decided to have a ceremony," said Ashlyn Johnson, City of Valdosta’s spokesperson.
On Friday morning, people gathered at the Historic Courthouse front lawn to honor the heroes and first responders. And remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost.
“Nineteen years ago, a tragedy took place in this country that we will never ever, ever forget,” said Bill Slaughter, the county’s commission chairman.
The ceremony kicked off with a speech from Slaughter, then a moment of prayer led by Pastor Martin Collins.
Valdosta Fire Chief Brian Boutwell says we came together as a nation the day after 9/11. Something we should do now in these times.
“You see as a nation, we realized how vulnerable we were, we realized how fragile life is, and at that time we loved each other. We came together. I was thinking now of the awkward times we have ‘do I shake hands, do I fist pump, do I offer an elbow, when do I need my mask. When am I far enough from them.’ But you know what awkward was on September 12, 2001, is when a stranger held a door and you were 20 yards away," said Chief Boutwell.
Boutwell says future generations will read about 911 events but not about what happened after.
“Through tragic events, we learn vulnerability where we learn how fragile life is and that’s what made us unified as a country and now in 2020, as we face challenge after challenge after challenge, it’s time we remember the unification. We remember life is still fragile and we take for granted we’re still going to see each other tomorrow but that is not guaranteed,” said Boutwell.
After messages of unity and hope, a wreath was placed next to the monument.
It’s a tradition at every 9/11 memorial in Lowndes County.