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Local ceremonies mark day of tragedy
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WCHS seniors Dean Galloway, front left, and Xander Lee, front right, prepare to lead the Pioneers onto the field with flags in honor of 9-11 on Friday night. The Nunley Stadium crowd was treated to a blowout as Warren County won 40-3. For story, see page 1B.
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There was a 9-11 ceremony Friday morning at Wild Bill’s BBQ on Sparta Highway. Pictured with the colors are Warren County JROTC members, from left, Sgt. Thomas Myers, Command Sgt. Major Gabriel Rudicel, 1st Sgt. Lucas Pescevic, and Capt. Nathan Jennings.

Flags were raised and sirens blared, but perhaps the most powerful moments were those of silence as McMinnville residents honored the memory of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

“When the first plane struck the tower, no one was sure what happened,” said McMinnville police officer Bill Davis, who said he remembers watching the event unfold on TV.

Davis said he was among the many Americans who soon realized it was no accident as another plane approached the World Trade Center in New York City and then crashed into it.

“That’s when we knew we were under attack,” said Davis, during a Friday morning ceremony held outside Wild Bill’s BBQ on Sparta Highway.

There were two moments of silence observed at the times the two planes struck the World Trade Center. There were also speeches delivered by Davis and Joey Clark, an EMS employee, first-responder with Centertown Volunteer Fire Department, and local organizer of Tunnel to Towers fundraisers.

Clark read the emergency dispatch ticket that was distributed to New York City first-responders after the first plane hit.

“At any minute, another one of those dispatch tickets could spit out,” said Clark. “We don’t know what could happen five minutes from now.”

Said Davis, “For some reason our country has forgotten what happened 19 years ago, even though we said we’d never forget.”

The 9-11 ceremony was an all-day event where police officers, firefighters, first-responders and local residents could stop by to pay their respects for the lives lost 19 years ago.

It was also a chance to donate to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which assists those dealing with the loss of a family member in the line of duty.

“It’s a terrible thought to think of someone knocking on your door and telling you that your husband is not coming home,” said Davis.

Clark pointed out three families in the Middle Tennessee area have been helped financially by the foundation, which puts 93 cents of every $1 raised straight to its mission.

“Even the CEO is a volunteer,” said Clark.