Barbara Smith spoke for thousands of American citizens who can well recall what they were doing when terrorists struck on American soil Sept. 11, 2001 as she addressed the Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 911 Memorial Service held on the steps of the Cherokee County Courthouse.
Smith admitted she was surprised and somewhat taken aback when McCord’s Volunteer Firefighter Rich Lindsey asked her to speak at the service.
”I said ‘Rich, what would I say?’” said Smith. “God said, ‘My child, I don’t think you have ever had any difficulty talking!’”
“I am here to just tell you how much our first responders and this community means to me,” said Smith.
“It has been 11 years since the attacks on our American soil. Most of us will remember where we were that day.”
“It was just unbelievable that someone would hit our American soil,” said Smith. “We were in shock. This had never happened to us since they bombed our battle ships at Pearl Harbor. A lot of you are not old enough to remember that, but I remember. I remember the Second World War. I remember how we supported our troops. They were most important to us. We rationed things like sugar and silk stockings, ladies. We rationed gasoline, but we gladly gave those up for our troops because they were important to us. And our nation is important to us.”
“As always, our frontline people are here to serve us,” said Smith.
Smith read some comments made in a local newspaper from a previous year’s event noting “ordinary people doing their every day jobs to keep us safe in ordinary times.”
“Friends, we are so fortunate to live in Cherokee County,” said Smith. “Every day we are blessed to have our first responders. Today there are people at their desks that can’t attend because they are waiting for an emergency call.”
Another paragraph from the newspaper article, Smith said, stated that “average citizens got up and went to work not knowing the events that would transpire shortly thereafter.”
These included firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians willing to serve others. Of these there were mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, daughters friend and neighbors. As fate would have it, some would return home, many would not, as stated in the article.
“These are powerful statements,” said Smith. “People that are willing to put their lives on the line for us every day even somebody who is stopped by the police just checking for a license. It may be a fire that may break out in our homes and they risk their lives to go in there and save us.”
“What about the tornado last year?” Smith asked. “The devastation was awesome. But what about the response from our loving community? And our neighbors? Everybody helps everybody. I couldn’t believe the local outpouring. I think our crisis center for the tornado victims stayed open for months and gave out many, many, many things.”
“During that time, we were without electricity and I heard this vehicle in our yard one night,” said Smith. “I got up, went to the front door and looked out. There was a (law enforcement) car checking on our safety. There are more than 25,000 people in this county and for them to come up and check on our safety, I went to sleep and slept very soundly.”
“When I look out and see all of you, it just makes my heart proud to be a part of this county,” said Smith.
Smith said first got to know many of our local first responders a few years ago when her church did a special program for first responders. Included in the audience that night were police officers, firefighters, American Red Cross volunteers, members of the Cherokee County Association of Volunteer Firefighters Honor Guard and others.
“When I looked out and saw the faces of the men and women in that congregation that might possibly hold my life in their hands and they were there willing and ready to serve, I said ‘Thank God for that,”’ said Smith.
That particular program, Smith noted, was based on the Chronicles 7:14 in the Holy Bible.
“I want to read that to you and I want you to keep it in your heart,” said Smith.
“If My people which are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and forgive your sings and will heal their land.”
“We thank God for His promises,” said Smith. “Please remember to keep this scripture in your daily prayer.”
“There is one quote I want to leave with you,” said Smith. “What is we wake up today with only the things we thanked God for yesterday?’”
“That made an impact on my life,” said Smith. “I try to thank Him daily for all the many blessings He has given to me. Thank you again for your service, your attention and God Bless America!”