09/12/11 — Mayor leads moments to honor heroes

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Mayor leads moments to honor heroes

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 12, 2011 1:46 PM

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In solidarity with fire and police officers around the United States, the Goldsboro police and fire departments gathered in front of Goldsboro City Hall and blasted their sirens for one minute beginning at 1 p.m. Mayor Al King was on hand for the siren ceremony.

When Mayor Al King heard of a national plea for cities across the country to hold a one-minute moment of remembrance at 1 p.m. Sunday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, he knew it was something he had to do, not only for the city, but also for himself.

King, a Vietnam veteran, knows all too well the terrors of overseas combat, and is chilled when he thinks back to that dreaded day.

So he announced at the City Council's Sept. 6 meeting that he would be on the City Hall steps at 1 p.m., and would appreciate a fire truck and a police squad car to accompany him.

He was joined by three police cars, and the fire station's engine No. 1, along with more than 20 other individuals when the clock struck 1 p.m. and the sirens and horns of the emergency vehicles began, echoing throughout the city as citizens gathered in front of the City Hall annex waved flags and held a one-minute vigil to honor those lost on and since Sept. 11.

"It changed America forever," King said.

Looking back at the past 10 years, King said there was little evidence that the country would ever "go back" to the pre-9/11 mentality.

"If you don't believe me, just go to an airport," he said, echoing his comments following his proclamation at last week's council meeting of Sept. 11, 2011 as a day of remembrance.

But as he read aloud what he said was the longest proclamation he had ever read, King said the words meant much more than a simple declaration for the purpose of posterity.

"It was more than a proclamation," he said. "It was personal for me."