Pikeville gathers to remember 9/11
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 12, 2010 1:50 AM
PIKEVILLE--Congressman Walter Jones still vividly remembers the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
In his Washington, D.C., office when the first plane struck one of the World Trade towers in New York City, he said he was unaware of the significance as he prepared to attend a news conference.
It was not until after the conference that he learned that a second plane had struck the other tower and the Pentagon had been bombed.
"I get a chill as I'm telling you that because it was a beautiful day in Washington," he said Saturday evening during Pikeville's summer blast celebration. "It was one of those events that we just could not imagine such a treacherous event had happened in our country.
"I felt the pain not so much of death as being violated, as being a victim of a crime, a victim of terrorism and how that pain hurt so deeply and it hurt so badly because we had never experienced anything like that in my lifetime."
The tragedy, though, he said, "awakened America" in many ways -- to the fact that it's a very unsafe world and we have many enemies.
It also should serve as a reminder that all the power is not in New York City, or in Washington, D.C., or the Pentagon, Jones said.
"The power is in heaven and the power in God, not man. If that day did not do anything else for America, (it should) wake America back up to the fact that our strength is our belief in God," he said.
Jones was featured speaker during the hour-long ceremony held in Dees Memorial Park to kick off the second annual end-of-summer celebration.
It is typically held before school resumes, said Kathie Fields, town administrator.
"We planned it around 9/11 this year because it fell on a Saturday," she explained.
The event also featured an antique car show, baseball games, inflatables, face painting and horseback riding, as well as vendors.
"This is just mostly for the Pikeville community, for people to come out, have a good time, meet and greet their neighbor and for us all to remember 9/11 so we never forget what happened that day," said Michelle Singleton, town clerk and organizer of the event.
Commissioner Lyman Galloway called it a "wonderful" community day, crediting Mrs. Singleton and her committee with planning the special celebration.
"We try to provide services for people in Pikeville," he said. "We appreciate people coming in and taking part in something like this."
Mayor Johnny Weaver welcomed the crowd to the family event before introducing Jones.
"Nine years ago, 2,749 Americans lost their lives in an attack against our country, we were attacked by wolves in sheep's clothing," he said. "They didn't wear uniforms or badges to identify who they were or what they stood for (unlike our military and law enforcement) -- they wear a uniform and badges that tell us who they are and what they represent."
Honor guards from Mar Mac Volunteer Fire Department and the Sheriff's Office also participated in the opening ceremonies, with musical selections provided by 11-year-old Jordan Hines of Benson, who sang the National Anthem, and Jessica Carter of Smithfield.
Afterwards, Robbie, Virginia and Michael Taylor from Nahunta were deciding what to order from one of the food booths.
But the family's reason for attending the festival went beyond the fun aspects.
"(Robbie) used to be a volunteer firefighter and (Michael) really doesn't know much about Sept. 11," Mrs. Taylor said.
"I was only a year old," said Michael, who is now 10 and a fifth-grader at Fremont STARS Elementary School.
One thing he had learned from the proceedings, he said, was "how people can be brave."
"And about the heroes and people fighting for our country now," his mother added.
Dallas Herring, 10, was enjoying a chocolate Italian ice while his sister, Cire Herring, 7, chose a cotton candy version.
They were accompanied by their grandmother, Jo Passerrello of Nahunta.
Once finished with dessert, she said, they planned to check out the hot dogs and French fries.
"We listened to the ceremony and they have played on the inflatables and now we're going to go to the horseback riding," she said.
Cristie Warthlin, a vendor at the Scentsy booth -- featuring electric warmers that melt scented wax -- said she usually does a lot of church bazaars but happened upon the Pikeville event when she was looking for family activities online.
"We go to Gateway Community Church (in Pikeville). I love it. It's a small cozy town. I'm from a big city," said Mrs. Warthlin, a military wife who hails from Cincinnati, Ohio.