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Community remembers 9-11

National Park Service Ranger Tom Berryhill places a small flag at the base of the large flag pole on Tuesday at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center as part of the 9-11 Observance.

Staff photo by L.A. Story

By L.A. Story

Daily Corinthian

t's been 17 years but there were quiet honors everywhere in remembrance of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Tiny flags tossed in the breeze beneath the large flagpole at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center where the colors were lowered to half-mast. Each flag was a silent indication that the community still remembered.

"We have had quite a few visitors," said National Park Service Ranger Tom Berryhill.

The Interpretive Center hosted a 9/11 Observance, allowing people to join park staff in placing American flags around the flag pole honoring those killed in the terror attacks.

Berryhill was working as a FedEx courier in Woodstock, Ga., in 2001 and he was on the road. He said he'd heard about the terror attacks while making a delivery and seeing the terrible events playing out on a customer's television in the background.

"I thought, 'What is going on?' ... It was a strange feeling," he said.

Driving around Corinth, one does not realize how many businesses have flagpoles ... until one drives by and notices so many silent remembrances shown with lowered flags.

Several employees at Cash Express chose to deliver treats to local emergency responders, including the Corinth Police Department, to show their appreciation on the solemn occasion.

Of the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11, 412 were emergency workers in New York City including firefighters, police officers with New York City, Port Authority of New York and the New Jersey Police Department and emergency medical technicians.

This yearly visit performed by the ladies at the local business is something they feel strongly about.

Cash Express Manager Heather Holman said it was something they wanted to do to show their appreciation.

"We do this because these guys are very under-appreciated. Nobody realizes how much they do until they need them," said Holman. "They are right there when someone breaks into your house, or your kid is in a wreck or you are in a wreck ... You never know ... this our way of showing them how much we do appreciate them."

Fellow employee Katie Nelson agreed.

"We just like to show our appreciation, our respect and our love for not only the police department, but all of our first responders," said Nelson. "We want to let them know that we haven't forgotten what's happened and we also know how much they do for the entire community."

Taking a moment to reflect while delivering a community-signed card, a cake, cupcakes, colas and other treats to the Corinth Police Department, several spoke of what they were doing when they heard about the 9/11 attacks.

"I was in Shelly Hopkins' class at school," said Cash Express employee Brittany Hughes. "She was my math teacher and I was sitting in her classroom and we turned the news on and watched it on TV that day in class. I was in middle school. I was so scared for all those people."

"I was playing hooky from school. I was playing sick so I was at home," said Nelson. "I got a call from my grandmother. She said, "Turn on the news! Turn on the news!' She was mostly freaking out because it was the same time that the Pentagon got hit and my uncle worked at the Pentagon. We couldn't get hold of him. It turns out that they were renovating his office, so he wasn't even in the building."

"I was getting ready to clock into work at the Shannon Police Department," said Corinth Police Officer Fred Washington. "I honestly cried. It just tore me apart."

"I was at my aunt's house, sitting on the floor, playing with my six-month-old daughter. It came on television when the first plane hit," said Holman. "I ... was shocked ... scared. It made you think about how your family was ok while so many other families were torn apart. Those people got up to go to work thinking everything was going to be ok, like it is every day, and then in a couple of hours their whole world was gone."

"Actually on 9/11, I was in bed. I had worked the night before and I didn't realize anything happened until I woke up and turned the TV on," said Corinth Police Capt. Ben Gann. "It was terrible. I mean ... an attack on our nation was unheard of at the time. It was just something ... hearing about our brothers in blue killed. When an officer goes, we're all family — from the East coast to the West coast — so when we all get upset."

The remembrances and the support shown by the local business on such a significant day means a lot to the officers, he added.

"It's great. We love the public support. The support is outstanding around here especially for today's times, where you see all the negativity, and it means a lot to us," said Gann. "Anytime we come in contact with the public and they shake our hand and tell us they appreciate what we do ... it's a great feeling."