Local public safety agencies will present the 11th annual Patriot Day ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Public Safety Memorial, located between the Historic Courthouse and Justice Center in downtown Canton.
“The event is held each year to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City,” said Tim Cavender, spokesman for Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services.
Johnny Weaver, president of Mauldin’s Body Shop and Towing, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers include Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather, Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant, Woodstock Police Chief Calvin Moss and Deputy Chief Marshal Kevin Roach. Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood will provide closing remarks.
The Cherokee High School band will perform a special musical tribute and the national anthem.
Sheriff Roger Garrison and Prather will also be laying a wreath at the memorial in honor of public servicemen and women who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The ceremony is open to the public.
Freedom Middle School will present its own Patriots Day program at 9:15 a.m. in the school gymnasium. Freedom MS is located at 10550 Bells Ferry Road in Canton.
Principal Karen B. Hawley said the community is invited to attend and all police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personal in attendance will be recognized.
“The program will be in memory of all who lost their lives that day 11 years ago and to honor all our first responders,” Hawley said.
Etowah High School will host a 9/11 memorial dedication to unveil the school’s new memorial depicting a steel New York City skyline and two silhouettes carved out of the monument representing the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
The dedication will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Etowah High School auditorium and follow with a ceremony in the school’s plaza at 7:15 p.m.
Principal Keith Ball said the memorial is a manifestation of his students’ commitment to service that was kicked off last year in honor of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Over the last year, the students have performed more than 26,000 hours of service, Ball said.
Ball worked with a contracting firm and the school’s two art teachers to complete the 14-foot-wide, 5½-foot tall monument. He said art teacher Josh Saye spent well over 60 hours of work welding the steel cityscape.
In the mark stone, there is a Quick Response code that directs viewers to a site that explains the purpose and history of the monument as well as links to donate to charities such as Tuesday’s Kids, which supports children who lost their parents in the 9/11 attacks.
“No matter what person or when, a month from now or 20 years from now, you can click on the QR marker and go through the entire history of why we did what we did,” Ball said.
Ball said students and staff raised all the money for the project through T-shirt sales by the cheerleading team and in-kind donations.
“I’m really proud of the kids’ commitment to service,” Ball said. “They didn’t have to do it — there’s no grade, no prize, no medal. Doing that amount of community service, that really is a staple of the Etowah community.”
Honored guests include Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo, the Board of Education, the superintendent’s cabinet, Etowah art teachers Saye and Bob Putnam as well as the contractors of the memorial, Jack Stone and Tim Westmoreland. Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques, Prather, Woodstock Fire Chief Dave Soumas, Woodstock Police Chief Calvin Moss and Garrison.
Guests are requested to RSVP to Penny Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or (770) 926-4411 ext. 223.
Also in Woodstock, the Woodstock Jaycees will have their annual Day of Remembrance at 7 p.m. in the Park at City Center, located at 101 Arnold Mill Road.
In addition to remembering those lost to 9/11, the event will also honor servicemen and women who continue to fight for freedom, including police, fire and rescue.
Marybeth Stockdale, special events coordinator for the city of Woodstock, said the city will be giving out a limited supply of 9/11 remembrance lapel pins.
Also, the Lodge at BridgeMill will host a flag retirement ceremony to commemorate the holiday at the senior living facility located at 10451 Bells Ferry Road in Canton.
Beginning at 7 p.m., the flag retirement ceremony will be performed by a local chapter of the Boys Scouts of America. For more information, contact Marketing Director Debbie McAdory at (770) 479-4639.