:Many of the Boy Scouts in the Sweetwater District are too young to remember Sept. 11, 2001, but they do remember learning about it in school and are proud to be sponsors of the Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Service taking place at 8 o’clock this morning at the Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Gwinnett Justice Center.
"In addition to remembering the tragic events of Sept. 11th, we will commemorate the loss of so many lives with a focus on the four victims from Georgia, Claude Michael Gann, Maynard S. Spence Jr., Harshad Sham Thatte and Major Stephen V. Long," event chairman Donna Kaplan said. "We will also be honoring our local heroes: the EMS, Fire, Police, and Sheriff Departments of Gwinnett and Walton Counties."
This will be Sweetwater's second commemorative service and the boys are proud to see how much their movement has grown since last year. Supporters include Red Knights, Philadelphia Winn Chapter of DAR, Woodmen of the World, New Lawrenceville Association, Masonic Lodges of Lawrenceville and Duluth and the Georgia National Guard, whose "Band of the South" will perform at the event.
"Last year we had a lot of people from our district and I remember how I felt during the moment of silence," Carl Smith of Troop 580 said. "This year I am looking forward to hearing the band."
Kaplan said last year more than 200 people attended and they expect a crowd of at least 500 this year. The program includes a welcome by Trip Selman, BSA NEGA Council scout executive, followed by guest speaker Congressman Rob Woodall and keynote speaker Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson.
Now I know some of you may be reading this online on Sunday at midnight and can still plan to attend this ceremony while others who have picked the paper up in the driveway after church may wonder why I even bothered to write about it. Well, there is a reason.
"Not only will our focus be on remembering those who died and thanking our local heroes, but inspiring patriotism in the community," Kaplan said. "It's also about what we do on 9/12."
"The day after 9/11 we all picked up and built for the future with hope and faith," Sweetwater District Vice-chairman McK King said. "We want to move beyond 9/11. Our message is if that's what you dwell on, you're not going anywhere."
The 9/12 Project, a national non-partisan volunteer movement, encourages people to reach out to the community and bring back the spirit of togetherness we felt on 9/12/01.
"You can give blood, adopt a road, volunteer at the library, police station, hospital or co-op, or even just properly display and care for the American flag," Sweetwater District Chairman William Rambow said. "Service has always been the cornerstone of scouts, and we'd like to invite everyone else in the community to do it with us."
And we can start tomorrow.
Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.