09/11/12 — A day not to be forgotten

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A day not to be forgotten

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 11, 2012 1:46 PM

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Retired Army Col. and Medal of Honor recipient Col. Joe Marm speaks with 916th Air Refueling Wing Capt. Shannon Mann, left, during a Sept. 11 tribute held outside Sam's Club early Tuesday. The service featured personnel from multiple branches of the military and a 21-gun salute.

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Staff Sgt. Skipper Valetin holds the American flag as a patriotic slideshow plays behind him during a ceremony at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The base held a remembrance ceremony this morning, which was to be followed by a 24-hour run by members of the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron, 4th Security Forces Squadron and 4th Fighter Wing Honor Guard.

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Members of the Southern Wayne High School ROTC prepare to raise the American flag this morning at a ceremony to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A jostling shopping cart crossed the Sam's Club parking lot this morning, its roar competing with the chords of "The Star- Spangled Banner."

A sport utility vehicle passed by the loading shelter during a group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Both times, though, the ceremony honoring the military seemed to drown out everything else on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- events that had drowned out everything else themselves more than a decade ago.

With retired Army Col. Joe Marm, a Medal of Honor recipient, in attendance along with a host of other local government officials, Sam's Club General Manager Lindsey Grimes addressed the crowd of more than 50 shoppers, associates and members of nearly every branch of the military during a ceremony that has become a tradition.

And Grimes said that in 2013, which will be the sixth year of the ceremony, he hopes to do even more for local members of the military than honoring them with plaques -- he hopes to give grants to those who serve their country so selflessly.

It's an admirable goal, especially since the ceremony was born from what could have been considered a mistake.

Associate Don Johnston said those on staff at the Goldsboro store were made aware of concerns with their flags in the store, which were out of order according to flag-flying rules.

Besides correcting the mistake, those working there decided to do more for the military. The Sept. 11 ceremony was born out of that.

"It came just from a mistake and it evolved into what it is today," Johnstone said.

Each year the ceremony shifts to honor a new company of public servants. This year, first responders from Wayne County EMS were chosen to receive plaques in appreciation for their work.

Grimes said he hopes to continue to grow the ceremony in the years to come while keeping support of members of the military in the forefront.

Members of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office rifle team concluded the ceremony with a 21-gun salute.