It was not a celebration.
Nonetheless, there were sad smiles, inspirational songs and stirring applause as more than a thousand people came together in Marietta Square Sept. 11 to honor those who died in last year’s terrorist attacks.
Each person came away with his or her own lessons.
“I think we have come to have more respect for the people in public service,” Marietta resident Cathy Nuse said as she stood among the crowd.
“People realize that the police, firefighters and others like them are always there for us and they are willing to die for us. That's what they do and we have a new respect for that."
REFLECTION: Top, more than a thousand people gathered in Marietta Square on Sept. 11 to remember and consider the impact of last year’s terrorist attacks. Bottom, Gov. Roy Barnes was the keynote speaker for the event, which included a salute to the military by Maj. Gen. David Poythress and a flyover of Marine helicopters.
Her neighbor, Gaye Anderson, said her daughter was a student at New York University and was only five blocks from the World Trade Center when it was hit.
Her family went through the agony of not knowing until they found out she was OK.
“The events of Sept. 11 have brought out the camaraderie in people and we have come together as a nation," Anderson said.
Jackie Wagner, an administrative specialist with Cobb County Community Development, was not at the gathering. Instead, she was spending time with friends.
Her cousin, who worked for a stock investment firm at the World Trade Center, died when the first tower collapsed.
“I’m still mad,” she said. “As a nation, we can’t just sit back and let someone destroy our country or our families.”
As a member of the National Guard, she remains worried for her fellow servicemen and friends who have been activated and are serving overseas.
Tributes to those who serve in the military and public safety were a common theme during the ceremonies, which included the dedication of a memorial flagpole on the Square.
Wagner said the anniversary of the attacks was a time for her to reminisce.
“You can’t turn back time ... the only thing I can do is move on,” she said. “You can only try to make things better.”
AikWah Leow contributed to this report.
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In August, Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens was elected, sworn into office and presided over his first commission meeting all in less than a week.
PLEDGE OF SERVICE: Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines (left) swore in Sam Olens as chairman. Olens’s wife, Lisa, assisted with the ceremony.
Now he will continue a tradition he began as a District 3 commissioner – the town hall meeting.
“I believe in continued accessibility to the residents we serve,” Olens said.
He will host an Oct. 29 meeting at the West Cobb Regional Library in Kennesaw to allow the public to express concerns or ask questions.
Other officials scheduled to be there include Cobb County School Board Member Lindsey Tippins and District 1 Commissioner Bill Askea. Olens said he will also invite other leaders.