(Photo by Michelle Felter, Staff)
A short ceremony took place in front of the Courthouse beginning at 9:11 a.m. County employees, as well as members of the community paid tribute to those who lost their lives, and those who continue to fight for the country's freedoms. The ceremony began with the pledge of allegiance.
"It's hard to believe it happened seven years ago, it seemed like it was only yesterday," said Jamie Burger, presiding commissioner.
He compared this generation's feelings of the day to how several look back at the day John F. Kennedy Jr. was assassinated -- people will always recall where they were, and their initial feelings as news broke.
"As the morning went on, we realized that our lives as we knew them in America were going to be changed forever," said Burger.
He asked those in attendance to keep the troops, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan, in their prayers. "They're over there fighting to allow us to assemble as we are today," he said.
Dennis Lowe, pastor of Unity Baptist Church in Benton, also briefly spoke.
He summarized the events of Sept. 11. Lowe reminded people that in addition to those in the World Trade Center, Pentagon and airliners, there were casualties of "heroes that put their lives in harms way to rescue any survivors ... These (heroes) gave the ultimate sacrifice."
Lowe said one of the fundamental elements of the nation, which makes it great, was penned in the Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
He called life the foundational element, "which cases men and women, without hesitation, to run into a burning building to rescue survivors. It is this element that causes young men and women to enlist in the military, knowing they could be put in harm's way and even sacrifice themselves for their country."
In concluding the ceremony, Lowe led a prayer for all those who lost someone on Sept. 11, the families of soldiers that have given their lives for American freedom, and the thousands of military members now deployed.
"Let us pray that our country not forget the value that our God, as well as our forefathers, put on life," he said.