Columbia County will honor the victims and heroes of September 11 with a memorial service and patriotic celebration on the one year anniversary of the tragedy.
Representatives from the Martinez Fire Department, county sheriff's department, emergency management agencies, The Columbia County News-Times and Wesley United Methodist Church met on July 17 to begin planning the ceremony.
"We have assembled a planning team of county officials and emergency service department heads in cooperation with Wesley United Methodist Church and we are planning to include churches of all denominations and members of the community," said Pam Tucker, Director of Columbia County Emergency Services.
The first meeting was held last Wednesday afternoon at the emergency management center. Rev. Glenn Ethridge of Wesley United Methodist Church opened the meeting with a word of prayer.
"I am very excited about this event," Commission Chairman Jim Whitehead said. "I think we want this to be both a memorial and a celebration. Columbia County is good at having events on the Fourth of July and the first annual Christmas celebration last year. I think we are doing this for the right reasons."
The group of nine community leaders scheduled the service for Wednesday, September 11 at 7 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church.
"We want to get input from everyone in the community...of all denominations," Rev. Ethridge said.
The Martinez Fire Department color guard and the Columbia County Sheriff's Department honor guard will open the ceremony with the presentation of the flag.
Also discussed at the meeting were:
Groups to present patriotic music for the event.
Having emergency services sitting together in uniform at the event.
The inclusion of a slide show tribute to the heroes of Sept. 11
A title for the event
"I think everyone is a lot more appreciative of firefighters, police and all emergency personnel," said Tucker. "People realize now that these people run into the face of danger while others are running away."
The group agreed that the service should be both a memorial service and a patriotic celebration.
"We want people to leave this feeling good," Whitehead said. "This is not necessarily about the pain, but about patriotic pride."
The next planning meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 6 at 2 p.m. in the conference room of the emergency services building.
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