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Ceremonies mark fifth anniversary

LAWRENCEVILLE - Winder Fire Chief Raymond Mattison said Sept. 11 is not only the day the country lost its innocence, but the day Americans came together.

For that reason, he said, it is important that his fire department - and organizations around the country - take time to pause on the day and remember the tragedy.

"The efforts made by Americans in their darkest hour was great," Mattison said. "We are a great people, a great nation. Sometimes we take it for granted. I think it's for that reason days like this are important."

Memorials in Gwinnett and Barrow counties will commemorate the firefighters, police officers and civilians who lost their lives five years ago and provide a time of reflection for people in the area.

A number of events are planned including:

•Atlanta sports radio station 790-AM The Zone will be broadcasting live from Gwinnett Fire Station No. 20. The station's morning show, "Mayhem in the AM," will be broadcast from 6 to 10 a.m. and will include interviews with firefighters as they reflect on the day's events.

•The Red Knights Motorcycle Club will conduct a brief ceremony at the Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial in front of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville. Honor Guards from the Gwinnett County Fire Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department and the Lawrenceville Police Department will be on hand to present colors and play bagpipes and taps during the ceremony. It will be followed by a motorcycle ride from the justice center to the Public Safety Memorial located at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. The ceremony will start at 10 a.m. and the ride will begin at 10:30 a.m.

•The Gwinnett Fire Department Honor Guard will participate in a ceremony to be held at the new City Hall complex in Snellville. The city is holding a ceremony to pay tribute to Sept. 11 victims and to place the Veterans Monument that was displayed at the old facility at the new complex. Fire Chief Steve Rolader will be on hand to read the firefighter "Last Alarm," as a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. The ceremony will start at 11:30 a.m.

•The Winder Fire Department will go through a timeline of the morning's events beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing until the second tower fell. The names of the 343 firefighters and 62 police officers who died will be read. At 8 p.m., a video will be shown outside the fire department featuring local residents' thoughts about the attacks.

•Members of the National Guard will participate in a ceremony with the Barrow County Fire Department, Sheriff's Office and 1st Battalion 121st Infantry at the Leisure Services Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. It will feature a flag presentation, speeches and marking the times when the planes crashed and the towers collapsed.