Lowndes Co. and City of Valdosta pay tribute to the 20th anniversary of 9/11
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Friday morning, Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta came together to host their annual 9/11 memorial ceremony.
The ceremony consisted of a moment of prayer, followed by a flyover salute from Moody Air Force Base.
Community members, first responders, city, county leaders all gathered on the Historic Courthouse front lawn. To honor and remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost.
Twenty years later, the memory still very vivid in many of our minds.
“Where were you September 11, 2001,” asked WALB team.
“I was on duty working for Valdosta Fire at the time and several of us were in a classroom, and the individuals that were teaching the class worked for different aspects of the federal government. And all at the same time, their phones went off,” said Cpt. Jeff Talley with Lowndes County Fire Rescue.
Talley recalls that moment, he says all the phones ringing was not a good sign.
Shortly after, they turned on the television.
They were shocked.
“Angry a little bit, concerned for the people that were there. We were concerned for our own individuals, families, and coworkers here because we didn’t know at the time,” said Talley.
Valdosta Police Chief, Leslie Manahan says she was a patrol officer at the time, working overnights.
She found out that evening after waking up.
“I turned the news on and they were replaying the video over and over again. My heart sunk,” said Chief Manahan.
Twenty years ago, VFD Lt. Marcus Haines, tells us he was working in a completely different field when he heard the news.
“It was one of those things it doesn’t seem real,” said Haines.
Reflecting on the past and now, he understands the ultimate sacrifice first responders made that day.
Training Deputy Chief with Lowndes County Fire Rescue, Billy Young, says it was devastating knowing the country was under attack.
Something many thought would never happen.
“Just like the sign behind me that says 9/11/01 never forget, that’s something we should never do is never forget the sacrifices. Even 20 years later, we are still dealing with it in Afghanistan,” said Young.
After messages of unity and hope, a wreath was placed next to the 9/11 monument, a yearly Lowndes County tradition.
“We can come together as a community and respect and continue to grow strong and stand up against evil. That’s what we’re here for,” said Chief Manahan.
“It lets us know that although they’re gone, the sacrifice was there and it’s not forgotten and that is one of the things that will always be embedded in our minds, the people that made the ultimate sacrifice, helped pave the way in so many ways because we learned from that incident,” said Haines.
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