During a commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in Stone Mountain Village Sunday, the horrific terror attacks were also recalled as a time that united people in their mourning, reflection, and determination to press on.
That day “pulled communities and families together,” said Pat Wheeler, mayor of the City of Stone Mountain, which she said has “always been family, black and white. No matter what your race, we’ve always been family.”
The commemoration, “Heroes to Remember - A Day Not to Forget” took place at the gazebo near .
Commissioner Stan Watson, Rep. Billy Mitchell, Rep. Hank Johnson and Senator Steve Henson were among the political officials who spoke during the remembrance, hosted by Bugles Across America and the Stone Mountain City Council. Clergy led several prayers throughout the ceremony.
Dori Scales, Rep.Johnson's scheduler, didn't attend the commemoration only to show support for her boss: "I felt a strong need to be here," she said. "It makes me emotional now to think about it."
Bugler Jack Sartain, who also MC’d the event, played “Taps” four times in recognition of the four planes overtaken by hijackers on Sept. 11.
Rotary Club of Stone Mountain president Al Lipphardt spoke of the heroism displayed that day, by trained public safety workers as well as ordinary citizens on the airplanes -- “They were people, just like you and me,” he said -- and named some of them specifically, including Todd Beamer of United flight 93. Beamer along with other passengers sought to confront the hijackers before the plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Lipphardt also emphasized cohesion.
“We are one color, one class, one generation, one gender, one faith, one language, one body, one family, one soul, one people,” he said.
In the wake of attacks, there’s the need to “make sure we stand for the oppressed people throughout the world and insist they enjoy the freedom that belongs to human beings,” Rep. Johnson said. “So rather than a time of sadness, and this is a day of great sadness, this is also a day of great challenge -- a challenge to treat one another, regardless of race, creed, sex, national origin, religion....the challenge to treat one another as we wish to be treated.”