COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - People all over the nation are coming together to remember the victims and first responders who died September 11, 2001.
In Columbus, a ceremony at the public safety building involved flags flown over Ground Zero.
Remembering the names instead of the numbers and recognizing the first responders who ran toward the tragedy are two of the reasons law enforcement gathered Friday to honor September 11.
“This is the 19th time we’ve come together," Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren said. "It’s the 19th time people have prayed together to remember the families whose lives have been affected forever.”
September 11, 2001, there were four planes, 19 hijackers, and thousands of victims.
“All counted it was a total of 2,977," Sgt. Mickey Mays said. "1,100 were never recovered.”
Each and every one of those 2,977 names flies on the flag of honor. Two that flew over Ground Zero will now be on display inside the public safety building as a gift.
“When they say you’ll always remember where you were, well that’s factual," Boren said. "I can even remember some of the conversation in the room at the time. It was a tragic event, but it sure has brought us together.”
Former police officer and combat veteran, Mark LaJoye, traded his badge for his boots and headed to the Middle East just months after the terrorist attacks.
“I was detached at Fort Bragg to 3rd special forces group," LaJoye said. "And shortly after that, we were in the Hindu Kush mountains of the Himalayas of Afghanistan chasing what we didn’t know at the time was Bin Laden.”
19 years after those horrific days, veterans and first responders alike recall why it’s so important to honor this day each year and never forget.
“Keep a silhouette of the towers collapsing, never let that get out of your mind," Paul Voorhees said. "That’s what it means to me.”
“19 years later, September 11, 2020, my motto is ‘they knocked us down but we came back even stronger,’" Mays said.
In an effort to recognize current law enforcement personnel for their service, Mayor Skip Henderson is proclaiming this week Public Safety Week. Councilor Charmaine Crabb from District 3 has a message for the people in Columbus.
“I just want to thank our military, our first responders, public safety for making Columbus the amazing city it is," Crabb said.
Boren said people within the police and fire departments really appreciate when members of the public take even a few moments to say thank you.