City of Havelock honors the lives lost 20 years ago

The memorial is located at the Havelock Police Department.
The memorial is located at the Havelock Police Department.(Maddie Kerth)
Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 7:06 PM EDT
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HAVELOCK, N.C. (WITN) - On the 20th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, the City of Havelock held a memorial event to honor the fallen at the Havelock Police Department on Saturday.

Beginning at 8:15, attendees were greeted by Mayor Will Lewis and listened to moving speeches about the importance of keeping the attacks at the forefront of their minds by Pastor Steve Epperson, Fire Chief Tom Dorn, and Police Chief Marvin Williams.

“Freedom is not free,” Epperson said as he stressed the necessity to educate our younger generations who were not yet born at the time of the attacks. “It is our job to share the stories and to teach it in our homes and schools.”

The service was held at the Havelock Police Department where a memorial pavilion stands.

At the center is a steel beam from the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City. It was brought to Havelock 10 years ago.

Mayor Lewis remembers the process of acquiring the steel structure and the excitement he felt to be able to provide the city with a meaningful memorial site.

“To think about the sacrifices that people in our community, being a military community, makes everyday for our freedom and to be able to memorialize those folks that gave their lives in a different place so that we can be a small part of making sure that generations forever would remember that, it was pretty exciting,” said Lewis. “It turned into, well, ‘Why don’t we turn it into a memorial?’ And so that’s how we got here and made it a lot more of an impactful, I think, location for the city.”

Police Chief Williams recalls the thoughts he had when the towers fell.

“As a law enforcement officer, knowing that other law enforcement officers would be put in harm to try and save lives... that was one aspect for me,” he said. “I was also a military reserve officer for I knew at them time if our country was being attacked, I was going to have the opportunity to make sure that we care for whatever happened during those attacks.”

Alongside first responders and members of the community were many families with young children. Even though they were not born at the time of the attacks, their parents felt urgency in sharing the story that changed our nation’s history.

“We have teenagers and young children that do not know enough about 9/11 and this is our way of making sure that we do not forget, that they do not forget,” said Gloria Garcia, who was accompanied by her husband and two children. “We do not shield them. Being a military family, we have lived the effects. By bringing them here, by talking to them about it, letting them see it first hand, it’s pride.”

At 8:46 in the morning, the crowd shared in a moment of silence. This was the exact time that the first plane struck the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, attendees were encouraged to explore the memorial site and feel the steel structure as a way to connect deeper to the history of this terrorist attack on our nation.

The memorial site is open to the public 24 hours a day and can be found adjacent to the Harrier Monument.

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