In just a few days, Americans will pause to remember one of the most tragic, yet galvanizing events, in the nation’s history.
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City, into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and crashed in a Pennsylvania field, killing thousands of innocent citizens.
It’s a day that has been seared into the national memory.
Each passing year, tributes are paid to the first responders and true heroes who saved lives – sometimes at the cost of their own.
This year, a county-wide remembrance “Honoring Our Past, Embracing Our Future – Smith County’s Revitalism of Patriotism’’ has been planned for downtown Tyler, spearheaded by Pastor James Dill, former pastor of Lindale’s Christ Central Church.
Lindale Volunteer Fire Chief Joe Yeakley, who embodies the spirit of all first responders and emergency personnel, will be honored as well by ringing the ceremonial bell just after the release of balloons by students representing schools in Smith County.
“I have felt for a long time that our young people should be reminded of the sacrifices made on that terrible day,’’ Dill said. “This will be a great avenue for us to accomplish that.’’
The program is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on the downtown square and continue until approximately 8 a.m.
Lindale High School teachers Pam Price and Denise Yeakley will have chosen approximately 20 students to join in the event.
Chief Yeakley was badly burned in a January, 2014 house fire in Lindale and spent several months enduring painful rehab in a Dallas facility before being able to move back to East Texas and resuming his association with the LVFD.
He was elected chief of the department in June after serving as the chaplain of the department.
The event will begin with the color guard presenting the colors, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by a high school student. Also scheduled will be a balloon release by students, followed by Yeakley’s ringing of the bell.