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Clermont neighborhood to fly flags in honor of Sept. 11
Sandy Meredith puts a flag on a neighbor’s porch while Joe Duke and his grandson, Jakob Duke, watch. - photo by Tom Reed

Sept. 11 ceremony
The Gainesville Fire Department will hold a ceremony today to commemorate Sept. 11, 2001, at the flagpole of Fire Station No. 1 on Jesse Jewell Parkway.The ceremony will start at 9:45 a.m. and end at about 10:10 a.m.

The order of the ceremony:
9:45: Comments by Fire Chief Jon Canada
9:50: Comments by Police Chief Frank Hooper
9:58: All emergency personnel in attendance will be at attention and will maintain two minutes of silence. All traffic on Jesse Jewell Parkway will be stopped.
9:59: Siren or bell will sound for one minute
10: One minute of complete silence
10:01 to 10:10: Fire department chaplains will recite the Firefighters Prayer and close the ceremony in prayer.
From staff reports

One Clermont neighborhood is making a statement to remember Sept. 11, 2001, by displaying an American flag on each house.

Sandy Meredith, who lives on Brown Drive, said she was inspired by an e-mail to organize all of her neighbors to display flags.

Meredith said everyone has been supportive of the idea.

“They think it’s a wonderful idea to honor those people,” Meredith said.

Because the neighborhood is windy, Meredith bought herself and a few others without flags a special type of flag that will not wrap around the pole in the wind. She also bought small American flags to place on the mailboxes of vacant homes.

Meredith, along with neighbor Joe Duke, said they believe it is especially important, as the years go by, to take time to remember the events of Sept. 11 and the people who died that day.

“It’s like everything else. As time passes, people forget,” Duke said. “A lot of innocent people died that day.”

Duke said he feels lucky he was not one of the people who died aboard a hijacked plane in 2001. He was on a plane bound for Alaska when planes struck the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and a Pennsylvania field.

Meredith said that by showing solidarity today, although temporarily, it will echo the nation’s sentiments eight years ago.

“I think we’re not united anymore,” Meredith said.

Though the neighborhood of about 45 houses has never organized to fly their flags before on Sept. 11, Meredith hopes it will become a yearly tradition that will inspire others.

“Maybe everybody in the area will fly their flag next year,” Meredith said.

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