SUMTER, S.C. --
Shaw Air Force Base and the Sumter community hosted a ceremony Saturday, Sept. 11, commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
The ceremony, held in front of the City of Sumter’s Public Safety Complex, began with a flyover at 9:11 a.m. by two F-16 Fighting Falcons belonging to the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base.
Guest speakers reflected on the events that followed 9/11 and how it has changed us as a nation, as well as the courage and selflessness of those who were first on the scene.
“We are here to remember and pay homage to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” said Jim McCain, Sumter County Council chairman. “Far too many first responders perished that awful day 20 years ago; brave people whose final act on this earth was saving the lives of others.”
Attendees and personnel from the Sumter Police, Fire, and Sheriff’s Departments, as well as Airmen from the 20th Fighter Wing and Air Forces Central Command looked on as an honor guard comprised of Sumter first responders and Airmen presented the colors and laid a wreath at the memorial outside the Public Safety Complex.
“It’s hard not to be moved and reminded of the many brave Americans who answered the call 20 years ago today,” said David Merchant, Sumter Mayor. “The first responders that woke up that day, grabbed their lunch box, headed to work and clocked in for their shift, ready for whatever the day had in store. [They didn’t know] that day their shift was going to be like none they had ever had, and their lives would be changed forever. But it didn’t matter, because when the bell rang they rushed to answer the call for help.”