September 11-- The Downtown Vidalia Association held it’s 9/11 Memorial “Lest We Forget” Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Meadows Street Park in Vidalia. The guest speaker for the well attended event was Baxley native and retired Army Sergeant Leo Peeples.
Sergeant Peeples recalled that fateful day. “September 11th, 2001, the single deadliest attack in human history as well as the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers. 343 firefighters died that day. 72 law enforcement officers died that day. 2,996 innocent people perished. As a result over 3,000 children lost their parents and over 6,000 people were injured,” said Peeples.
Peeples added, “Today there have been numerous 9/11 related deaths due to respiratory disease and cancer. Forty two minutes, two thousand five hundred and twenty seconds changed our lives forever. Our infrastructure was reshaped; a toll was taken on the economy. Strict travel regulations were implemented and domestic relations were drastically affected. But the United States of America is the greatest country in the world.”
Sergeant Peeples talked about the unity within the country after the attack. “We the people did not break in light of this tragedy. We banned together. Every sex, every race, every creed. And like a phoenix from the ashes and the unity of the citizens of the United States of America began to restore and rebuild,” said Peeples.
In closing Peeples stated, “Today we are grateful of all those who rendered aid and professional and private citizens. Today we thank our armed forces for their diligence in crisis. Today we pray for the survivors of every man, woman, and child effected that day. It has been echoed time and time again; all gave some, some gave all. Today we honor the memories of the victims of 9/11.”