Several local organizations are providing opportunities to honor those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that occurred a decade ago.
Blood drives are a direct way to recognize those who put themselves first in times of emergency. A number of blood drives will be held around the region through the weekend of the 9/11 anniversary, including Bristol Motor Speedway, Holiday Inn in Johnson City and Central Baptist Church.
“The events of Sept. 11, 2001, will remain forever in the minds of the residents of this region who remember that heartbreaking day for our country,” said Don Campbell, Marsh Regional Blood Center director. “This (Bristol Motor Speedway) blood drive is an outstanding way to show the greatness of the United States by looking out for others and giving the gift of life.”
On the day of the attacks, Americans responded by donating blood, which continues to be a vital need.
“Ten years ago when so many people were injured, Americans wanted to help,” said Gwen Hunter, of donor resource development for the American Red Cross. “People realized that donating blood was a way to help and that’s something that is on people’s mind at times of severe emergency.”
Attending special ceremonies is another way to pay respect to those involved in the events of Sept. 11. Tetrick Funeral Services in Johnson City will host the 9/11 Freedom Ride on Sunday, featuring U.S. Rep. Phil Roe and a ceremony with the Johnson City police and fire departments, as well as the Washington County Sheriff’s Department and EMS.
Its concluding ceremony at Washington County Memory Gardens will feature events that were specially designed to include the community. There will also be a motorcycle ride through Erwin, Elizabethton and Bristol that will take place in between the ceremonies.
“Because it is the 10th anniversary, we feel like that day needs to be remembered,” said Laura Graham, of outreach and community relations with Tetrick Funeral Services. “Those first responders and citizens who lost their lives on that day will never be forgotten.”
The outpouring of patriotism that followed that September day may be relived through music as the Johnson City Symphony performs “A Symphonic Salute” on Sunday at Winged Deer Park’s Lakefront Plaza at 6 p.m.
Places of worship also will be a source for reflection. First Christian Church, Otterbein United Methodist Church, Boone Trail Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church in Johnson City, as well as Zion Baptist Church and Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elizabethton, will each hold services honoring the 9/11 anniversary.