Inflections of 9/11 remembrance

By Justin Boron

Dawn Robinson transformed from a meetings planner at Stanley Morgan to a missionary for God after the hi-jacked jetliner's tremendous impact hurled her against the stairwell wall in the World Trade Center.

As she descended from the 61st floor on Sept. 11, 2001, she blanketed those around her with the support of her prayer, converting atheists from her office that had previously rejected her strong faith.

"Even amid all of that fear, I felt the peace of God," she said.

Robinson told the congregation of the Ole Country Church in McDonough Sunday how her spiritual communion with God helped appease the hysteria pervading the two buildings on that passion-filled day.

Her speech sewed up a weekend of dedications, prayers, and solemn remembrances that aimed to lend credence to the phrase spawned by three-year old tragedy: "We will never forget."

American flags flew over commemorative ceremonies around the nation, much like the one hoisted up from a Henry County fire engine over Ga. Highway 155, reminding passers-by of the day when the overwhelming shock of violence changed the country forever.

For many people, the day not only served as a remembrance of those who died, but as an occasion to bestow gratitude on those who endow the community with protection each day.

Pastor Neil Anderson of the Ole Country Church thanked Henry County's police and fire departments, calling up chiefs individually to give them leather-bound bibles inscribed with their name.

"The people that watch over us, that take care of our children should be at the top of the pay scale," he said.

Chief H.E. Smith of Hampton Police Department was one of the people honored at the church and gave his assurances that public safety workers will always be present in times of tragedy.

"What you can always depend on is that these peple will work hand-in-hand to protect the community," he said.

While inspirational hymns illuminated the atmosphere at the Ole Country Church, the cheers of supportive fans graced the Clayton County Police and Fire Departments at Morrow High School.

A charity game between the two departments commemorated the day with gracious speeches from local basketball coaches and the Sheriff-elect Victor Hill.

"There are many nights that I turn on the TV and see police officers and firefighters doing deeds that no one else will," said James Livingston, the head basketball coach at Morrow High School.

As the wind rippled through the flag over the Ole Country Church Sunday, Lt. Kevin Gilham stood with members of the Henry County Fire Dept. from stations three, six, and seven, embracing the fellowship that has grown between public safety workers since so many of them lost their lives in New York three years ago.

"Even though they don't work down here in Georgia, they are still our brothers and sisters," he said.