September 11, 2005 Memorial Service at Meeks Park in Blairsville, Georgia
A memorial service was held on September 11, 2005, at Meeks Park Recreation Field, to honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack four years ago. Law Enforcement personnel, EMS workers, Fire Department members, Rescue Air One's helicopter crew, members of the military, elected officials, and other dignitaries participated in the ceremony.
At two o'clock things began with a parade of emergency vehicles. The VFW Color Guard held a flag presentation and Joe Nickerson, the Fire Dept. Chaplain, said a prayer. Lieutenant Luke Hedden led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Chris Stephens, a member of the band Reality Check, sang the national anthem. It was a patriotic beginning for a very special day.
Commissioner Lamar Paris introduced speakers and gave a short speech. He talked about what a great country we live in and said, "Everyone here, and the community as a whole, would like to thank our public safety personnel. This service is to honor all who serve, past and present. Union County has great public safety personnel, both paid and volunteer. We are proud of all they do."
Kim Thomas, a local law enforcement officer, asked "Where were you on 9/11?" She read a touching poem, "An American Hero who Died", and talked about her experiences on Sept. 11, 2001. Many people were spotted wiping tears as Thomas gave an account of her day, four years ago. Thomas was sent to Dobbins Air Force Base to keep people from entering the base where government officials had been sent for safe keeping during the attacks. At lunch, a kind citizen bought her lunch. "Just because they wanted to show appreciation for someone in uniform. That was the first time anyone said 'Thank-you'".
Nickerson returned to the podium and gave out some facts. On 9/11 there were 2,819 people who perished. 343 firefighters, 23 New York City Policemen, 37 Port Authority officials, 124 Pentagon staff members, 64 people on American flight seventy-seven, 92 people on American flight eleven, 65 people on United flight one-seventy-five, and 44 people on United flight ninety-three. Nickerson went on to give a memorable speech before closing the service.
Everyone was invited to the picnic. The families and members of our Public Safety Personnel worked hard to provide a feast. Tables were piled high with good food, barbequed pork and chicken, hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw, casseroles, cakes, and pies. Everything was delicious.After eating, everyone was given a chance to work off some calories. There were horseshoe tournaments and ball games. The band, Reality Check, provided live music. The children enjoyed train rides, inflated slides and fun houses. Good food, good times, and good company made the day a huge success. Second Lieutenant Brad Niebrand did a great job and says, "We look forward to doing it again. Hopefully this is just the first of a yearly tradition