Macon remembers 9/11 victims

lfabian@macon.comSeptember 11, 2013 

The sound of approaching helicopters merged with bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” on Mulberry Street for Wednesday’s 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Members of the Macon Police Department, Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and Macon-Bibb Fire Department laid a wreath and white roses on monuments at the Public Safety Memorial.

“It brings back memories of the courage of the firefighters in New York, the police officers and the EMS people,” said Macon-Bibb Fire Prevention Chief Larry Smallwood. “How people will sacrifice their lives for others, especially in a disaster like that.”

Smallwood also thought of his father, who suffered a fatal heart attack 35 years ago.

Fire Capt. C.A. Smallwood was on his way to the Second Street firehouse Sept. 11, 1978.

Bibb sheriff’s Chief of Staff David Montford remembers watching the second plane hit the World Trade Center. Montford and others were watching the live coverage at their office.

“It was just unbelievable what was going on,” he said, while remembering all the lives lost. “It’s just a solemn occasion for us.”

In a rash of bomb threats post 9/11, Macon police Lt. Andra Grinstead made it her passion to arrest people trying to instill fear in others.

Thinking back 12 years, “It makes me want to cry,” said Grinstead, who supervises the E-911 Center.

“I feel those same emotions,” she said, realizing it was the last 9/11 observance for the Macon Police Department before consolidating with the sheriff’s office.

Police Maj. Tonnie Williams thinks of the nation’s strength.

“In adversity, how we came together, how we come together, how we solidify and how we stand in spite of, and because of,” he said. “We are a great country and I’m very proud of my country.”

One of the choppers veered off in a missing man formation as the other flew over the American flag hanging from crossed aerial ladders.

The Rev. Ronald Terry said our country is not perfect, and not always right, but it is ours.

“We must honor our land, cherish our land and keep it in prayer,” Terry said to close the ceremony. “May God bless America and bless all of you.”

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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