The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, Paulding County Fire and Rescue Honor Guard and the Retired New York Shields of Georgia sponsored the annual Patriot Day event at the 9-11 Memorial site in Mount Tabor Park in Dallas. Maj. Chad Hunton, commander of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, said his organization sponsors the event each year to honor those who lost their lives, and so people remember what happened — especially the younger generations.
Sheriff Gary Gulledge said, “We want our fallen brothers and sisters of public safety along with their families to know that we will not forget.”
Former New York firefighter Tim Murphy, of the retired shields, was at ground zero after the second airplane hit the Twin Towers in 2001.
“Some days it seems like [it was] yesterday. Some days it seems far away,” he said.
He said he is glad the county departments host the event, otherwise it would be just the retired shields at the memorial by themselves each year.
“It shows people are remembering,” Murphy said. “It takes it to the next level.”
The retired shields group has about 60 members who reside in the metro Atlanta area.
Murphy challenged the attendees to remind fellow Americans about the importance of the Sept. 11 observance.
“As people, we tend to forget,” he said.
Deputy Fire Chief Joey Pelfrey said he is grateful for all the public safety members and those who fight for the U.S.
“It [the event] reminds me that the freedom we enjoy is not free,” he said.
Hunton said the three sponsors meet in June or July to plan for the event, and rehearse for it in August.
They plan to have a “large scale” event with more presentations every five years, and the next should be on the 15th anniversary in 2016, he said. This year the event included two prayers, the flying of the American flag at half mast, the reading of the poem “The Cost of Lives,” ringing of a bell to honor those who had died, presentation of wreaths at the memorial, a 21-gun salute, the playing of “Taps” and the recounting of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Hunton said he appreciates the community for attending the event each year.
“We don’t want them to forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.