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Ceremony marks 9/11 anniversary

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Southern Nash JROTC members Hunter Wood, 17, front, watches David Lynn, 16, left, Jeffery Alvarado, 17, middle, and Hary Vega, 17, right, raise the U.S. flag to honor those who died Sept. 11, 2001, on Monday at Nash Community College.

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By AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Student Government Association of Nash Community College hosted its annual 9/11 ceremony on Monday to honor the victims of the attack that has lessened America’s sense of security for the past 16 years.

On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 militants with ties to the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four planes and used them as weapons to carry out suicide attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. Almost 3,000 people were killed as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

During Monday’s ceremony, the Southern Nash High School ROTC performed the presentation of colors and lowered the flag to half-staff in memory of the rescue personnel, law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians who lost their lives in the course of the attack. Soyna Small, a career and job placement counselor with Nash Community College, sang a stirring rendition of the National Anthem before Dr. Keith Smith, associate vice president of community and governmental affairs for the college, gave the invocation.

“We are all a part of the global community and will not succumb to the spirit of fear,” Smith said.

Chelsey Blackston, president of the NCC Student Government Association, introduced speaker Willie Kearney, fire and rescue coordinator for Nash Community College. Blackston focused his remarks on the legacy of 9/11.

Kearney compared America to the creation of a sword that is forged in fire, which is then quenched to unify the elements.

“We were beaten down,” Kearney said. “Our hearts were broken, our spirits were broken and our families were broken. But the fire was quenched by our tears, sweat and blood. The true legacy of 9/11 is unity. We are not overcome; we are not afraid; we are unified.”

Gov. Roy Cooper also released a statement Monday regarding the 16th anniversary of 9/11.

"Sixteen years ago, 9/11 first responders made heroic sacrifices that will live on in our hearts and minds forever,” he said. “Today, we remember the thousands of innocent victims who were hurt or lost their lives, and we remember those who stepped up at a moment’s notice to help their fellow Americans. That spirit is the best of us, and it should guide us in the face of any collective obstacle, from senseless violence to powerful natural disasters."

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