It’s hard to believe that 9/11 was fifteen years ago. The New York City skyline changed, as did every American’s way of life. Nearly 3,000 people died that day, and since then many brave Americans have sacrificed their lives in the ensuing War on Terror. In honor of these lives, the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association NC Chapter 15-6 and American Gold Star Mothers-Gardenia Chapter held a beautiful wreath laying ceremony at Veterans Park. The ceremony began after the association rode from the Sheetz on N. Main Street in Fuquay to the War on Terror Memorial in our very own Veteran’s Park. At 9:11AM, there was a moment of silence. Afterwards there was talking, laughter, hugs, and donuts.
The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association functions as a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and defending those who have defended our country. They aim to help veteran care facilities “provide a warm meal, clothing, shelter, and guidance.” They’re also there to say, “‘Thank You’ and ‘Welcome Home’.” Such simple, powerful words, but ones which can never be said too much.
The American Gold Star Mothers is an organization of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of our country. Founded in 1928, they serve veterans at events such as this. It was founded by a woman named Grace Darling Seibold whose son was killed in World War I. Seibold processed her grief by volunteering in a veteran’s hospital and reaching out to other mothers going through the same thing.
Later in the afternoon on this past September 11th, another group of mothers—and fathers, and young adults gathered at the Holly Springs Law Enforcement Center for the Respect for America Quilt Rededication. The quilt, which consists of 1,000 squares and spans 12 feet wide and 6 feet tall, hangs as a memorial to first responders and the families of all those affected by 9/11. Once housed in Holly Springs Elementary, now it hangs in the new law enforcement center for the greater community’s benefit. The flag contains the hopes, dreams, and ideas of young people who wrote and drew on the squares in the days and weeks following 9/11. Several of these children, no longer children, attended the rededication, and stood for a picture in front of the flag quilt they helped to make.
9/11 events may occur just once a year, but the flag quilt and the War on Terror Memorial are around every other day. Not only do they honor all those who served and serve our country, but they also represent how our country came together after that horrific day. It can be easy to forget this day and age, when we are reminded over and over again of what divides us—politically, racially, economically—but in the hours, days, weeks, and months following the 9/11 attacks, Americans everywhere all wanted one thing: to come together.