As the Stars and Stripes flew proudly above court square, Prentiss Countians gathered Saturday to remember the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks and honor those who continue to protect and serve.

The annual observance was hosted by the George Robert Mitchell Post 4877 of the VFW.

“On a day very much like today, under clear skies in New York City and Washington, DC, terrorists decided they were going to take us out. All they did was strengthen our resolve,” said VFW Commander Terry Tolar.

Prentiss County Coroner Greg Sparks took the crowd through a timeline of September 11, 2001, as he noted the key moments and events of the day. Sparks said it remains striking to him how quickly the events unfolded.

The coroner said he gets to see first hand in his work the dedication of the area’s law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical responders and he’s grateful for the care and concern they show the people of the area and their willingness to sacrifice of themselves to care for others.

“First responders, my hat’s off to you guys. Thank you so much for what you do,” he said.

Booneville Fire Department Chief Michael Rutherford said all first responders feel a kinship and he knows those on 9/11 went into those buildings went there because they had a job to do. As he looked across the crowd of first responders gathered Saturday in front of the courthouse he said everyone should to remember to pray for those who serve.

“We never know what the next call will be for them.

Tolar and others also recalled the sense of unity felt across the country in the days following the attack and the VFW commander said he believes America needs to get back to that sense of common purpose.

“What I most wish is we could get back to 9/12 when all of us were Americans. There was no race, there was no creed, there was no religion, we were all Americans and that’s what we need to get back to now,” he said.

The program included remarks from Tolar, Sparks, Rutherford, Prentiss County Sheeriff Randy Tolar, Booneville Police Department officer Hunter Walton and Booneville Mayor Chris Lindley. VFW Post Chaplain Jamie Nanney led the crowd in prayer and Post Junior Vice Commander Barry Brumfield led the Pledge of Allegiance. Sammy Tolar led the playing of “Taps” to close the program.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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