September 14, 2015 – Fort Valley State University recently honored the victims lost during one of the worst attacks on American soil. The university held a FVSU Patriot Day: National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sept. 11 in the C.W. Pettigrew Center. First responders from FVSU’s campus and the local community came out to honor the memories of victims.
Cadet Larry Chapman delivered the invocation, saying to remember the victims that lost their lives on Sept. 11.
FVSU Cadet Shikeshia Thornton spoke about the history of the attacks, telling the audience that 3,000 men, women and children lost their lives that day, and 6,000 service members have lost their lives in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan in the wars that followed.
“Sept. 11 was a day that once held no meaning, but it now it is forever etched in our memories,” Thornton said. “We’ve dedicated this ceremony to the victims and all that have chosen to serve. This is a commemoration of those who lost their lives that day.”
Chief Kenneth Morgan told the crowd, “Those terrorist that acted and struck against our country were sending a message that we are a country that they can toy with, but as we build up our armed forces, know we’ll never give in or give up,” Morgan said. “Know that we have people that believe in Sept. 11, and there are people to help you.”
Morgan said that the public has to uphold the first responders who go into dangerous situations that the public runs from. He told the audience a terrorist attack can happen at any time, and that individuals should not take their freedoms for granted.
City of Fort Valley Police Chief Lawrence Spurgeon said 9/11 was a wakeup call for America. He said he nation should take its security seriously.
Following a moment of silence for the victims who died in the Twin Towers, the crashed planes and the Pentagon, there was a memorial walk held inside of the Pettigrew Center on behalf of the victims led by Fort Valley Mayor Barbara Williams.
“Remember there are family members that have to memorialize the lost lives of family members and public safety personnel that have fallen comrade,” Williams said. “All of the empty seats inside of the auditorium should be filled. Our security was threatened, and the events that happened in New York City and Washington, D.C. could have happened here. This marks the 14th anniversary of the attacks. I thank the university for not forgetting the events that happened on September 11.”
Dr. Jessica Bailey, interim president of FVSU, provided closing remarks for the service, saying she could remember when the second plane hit the World Trade center towers that the attack was no accident, and that the entire world was about to change.
“Our presence here today is a voice that is a response in opposition to hatred, violence and terrorism,” Bailey said. “Those of us who aren’t first responders should do our part in practicing nonviolence and standing against hatred by demonstrating love.”
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