JEFFERSON — For many Jefferson residents and officials, the American flag has become a symbolic reminder of Sept. 11, the thousands of lives that were lost and the sacrifice shown by the many public service workers who forged through the rubble of the fallen towers of the World Trade Center on that day.
During the annual Sept. 11th Attack Remembrance Ceremony Friday, the Rotary Club of Jefferson dedicated an American flagpole at the Jefferson Parks and Recreation Department’s sports complex on Old Pendergrass Road.
"A lot of the people who lost their lives that day were first responders, who willingly ran into danger to help others out of danger. I give thanks for those men and women who put their own life on the line everyday to keep us safe. I hope when you see your first responders you thank them," said Jefferson Mayor Jim Joiner.
"Right after 9/11 we all flew our flags and wore our flag pins on our lapel with pride. But where are our flags now? We are still under attack ... We still need to fly our flags with pride."
During the program, members of the Jefferson High School chorus sang the Star Spangled Banner as cadets with the school’s Air Force JROTC raised a flag on the newly dedicated pole.
Although the United States is known for helping other countries in crisis, not as many rush to the U.S. side when events like Sept. 11 unfold, which is why Americans should be proactive in helping themselves, says Jefferson Police Chief Joe Wirthman.
"We tend to forget the suffering that was caused that day, but let us not forget the people we lost that day," said Wirthman. "We need to stay steadfast and diligent and watch out for ourselves and our country because there aren’t a lot of other people who are looking out for us."